Written by on November 25, 2015 at 2:31 pm

It seems that every year we see Christmas displays going up earlier and earlier.  I love Christmas! I love Christmas hymns and other seasonal songs.  I love cold weather and snow.  I enjoy twinkling lights and trees decorated for family enjoyment.  I especially enjoy the smells of Christmas: pine, cedar, cinnamon, cloves, ham, turkey, and all the other wonderful olfactory teasers.

logo-wee-notesI wonder if the invasion of our senses is a positive thing, however.  My younger daughter texted her sister in October, from a local business, that it seemed a “Christmas tree has exploded inside” the large store. I’m sure most businesses are attempting to recoup some of what they have certainly lost the past years in our poor economic times. But what burden is this possibly putting on consumers?

I began to wonder, as I often do, how this ‘sign of the times’ is affecting young children.  Most parents are under tremendous stress during the Christmas season.  Working parents are trying to get all their decorating, shopping, addressing cards, cooking, attending office, as well as family and friends parties, and the thousand and one other things they have on their to-do lists completed on time.

Stay-at-home moms are stressed as to how they are going to juggle an already tight budget in order to provide their children with gifts for Christmas, and still pay the rent and other bills and have enough left to get food to feed their families.

Think of the sensory overload you experience after spending time in a large store with all the blinking and twinkling lights, music blasting from all corners of the place along with toys being tested that whiz, whirr, and buzz. Add to that the child asking for every toy they see. It’s enough to overwhelm most adults. Now think how much more difficult it is for a young child, without the understanding, maturity, and wherewithal to filter all the input and not be totally out of whack.

Parents, during this time of year, are particularly out of sync with their young children; at a time when they have a bigger need for parental attention.  It stands to reason that there would be a lot of acting-out behaviors and melt-downs. This is when a little may go a long way.  Pay attention to times your child may be tired and in need of a nap, when she may be hungry and need a healthy snack (peanut butter crackers and juice or cheese cubes and fruit, etc.), or perhaps just a time out of the shopping cart to walk. Try to anticipate these times before they occur.

It may even be prudent to coordinate with a close friend to share child care.  You have her child for a play date while she shops and she watches your preschooler another day while you get your shopping done. Or, leave daddy home with the little one while you get the major shopping completed and you stay with her while he shops another day.

It’s the season of being thankful. Be grateful for your wee one.  Happy Parenting.

©2015 Brenda Holland-Robinson

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