The holidays are just around the corner, and as parents, you’ll be looking forward to a bit of time off.

One of the more daunting challenges you may be facing during this holiday period is how to keep a routine, especially when everyone wants to come over and your family has been invited to an array of events. It doesn’t have to be daunting at Child’s Play ELC, because we have come up with some helpful tips to keep everything going steady during the silly season.

Why should we continue to practice our routine?

Practising a routine is just as important during the holiday season as it is any other time of the year. A routine helps your child meet and reach developmental milestones which allow you and your child’s educator to measure their progress and wellbeing. This routine also provides stability and normality to your child’s life which allows them to feel comfortable and not stressed or fearful. Keeping the routine over the Christmas holidays also reduces the likelihood of your child burning out or having a temper tantrum.

What can we do to keep a routine?

Hint 1. Plan with your child

Planning with your child makes them feel included and helps them understand what is going on. By having a plan, they will be able to recite to you what exactly you are up to for that day or week. When creating a plan for the holidays, ask them what they want to do. They may have heard of a park they want to go to! Or they may want to schedule the day they see Santa. Their plans may even revolve around what food they want to eat or what game they want to play at home. You might be pleasantly surprised at to how creative, thoughtful and organised your child is. Another good way to involve them in the holiday schedule is to plan play dates in advance. This will help them begin to understand dates and times and will give them something to look forward to during this time away from their friends.

Our top tip is to make sure you have an agenda each day so you don’t lose track of time!

Hint 2. Maintain regular sleeping patterns

Sleep is one of the most important aspects of a child’s development. Sleep helps your child grow and learn and most young children need up to 13 hours of sleep per day, with at least one daytime nap. Over the holiday period, maintaining that bedtime routine is critical as your child needs time to wind down and the bedtime routine provides them with a sense of comfort and normality. Maintaining your bedtime routine will also prevent your child from experiencing overtiredness and you having to deal with the after effects.

Our top tip for the Christmas period: Now is the perfect time to try sleeping outdoors. 

Hint 3. Set a screen time limit

It’s natural that your child may be exposed to more screens while at home for an extended period, but it is incredibly important that we don’t let our children spend all day watching TV or playing on an iPad. Studies have shown that too much screen time exposure can result in your child being sleep-deprived, inattentive and unable to self-soothe. One of the best ways to combat this challenge is by being a role model and minimising the amount of time you spend on your own screens. Play is a crucial part of a child’s development as it enables them to reach milestones such as walking, tying shoelaces and holding a bottle of water.

Our top tip: Encourage new activities such as reading, playing outside or make-believe. 

Hint 4. Have consistent eating habits

One of the biggest concerns we hear from our parents is how do we stop our children from filling up on all the sugary treats? By maintaining a routine and providing similar breakfasts and lunches every day, your child is less likely to indulge heavily in tempting treats. Keeping a routine and eating healthy meals also promotes the idea that foods such as a piece of cake or a piece of pizza are a treat and are something to be treasured.

Our top tip: Everything in moderation, don’t restrict certain treat groups like sugar. 

Don’t forget… Remember to Play

While plans and maintaining a routine are great, remember your child is a child and possibly doesn’t understand time yet. Play is one of the best ways to keep them entertained and happy over the summer holidays and one of the ways you can help your child develop even further. During the holiday period take trips to the park, get outside and run around. Let them explore and plan different activities to keep them excited.

Our top tip: Enjoy your summer holidays with your child, they are only going to be this young once. 

You Learn from Experience

Sleep-ins, lazy days and days where nothing goes to plan will inevitably happen, but they can be great learning experiences for the next holiday period. At Child’s Play we can provide you with recommendations and some key tips on how to maintain a routine with your child this holiday period, just get in touch with your room leader or educators for more ideas and suggestions