Christmas time… I personally think it is the best time of the year! All of the music, the lights, the “togetherness”! However, if you have a toddler, it can also mean an entirely different level of stress!
My oldest daughter just turned 5 and thinks that Christmas is the COOLEST thing ever. She could not WAIT to put the Christmas tree up and decorate our house. My youngest daughter just turned 2. I am not gonna lie, I was a little nervous about all of the novel “decorations” around the house for my tiny human to get in to.
As we were decorating the house, I knew I had to be a little more creative to ensure everything would last the entire month! I know this is a common concern for mama’s of toddlers so I figured I would share some of my tips. Hopefully this can help some of you as you prepare for Jolly Saint Nick!
AS SOOOOOON as we started to put our tree up, my little one already started to sneak to the back of the tree (Are you kidding me?). I immediately put my behavior analyst cap on and thought to myself,
“How can I stop this behavior but not have it look terrible?”
Solution- Throw some boxes in the back of the tree, wrap it up and make it look like presents. Wa-la, it looks like decor! But really, I am blocking Quinn from crawling to the back of the tree!
And yes.. I am a ‘Gangsta Wrapper’ cuz mama ain’t playing’! I totally put old grad school books in those boxes so they are crazy heavy! If those kids even tried to move them, they would have a really hard time. I also put a TON of tape on the ends… Those boxes are nooooooot getting opened, haha!
Mama- 1, Kids- 0
It is not a huge surprise that my little ones are going to be tempted to want to explore the beautiful, shiny ornaments on the Christmas tree. Instead of immediately telling them, “NO!”, I have planned ahead! I have created a felt Christmas tree and will just redirect them to explore this hands on experience! They can decorate this tree instead!
That way, they can have different tree decorating experiences in different rooms in the house! My oldest daughter even said, “Wow! We have three different trees!”
Yes… Yes you do, baby girl!
Mama-2, Kids- 0
Work with it, not against it
I also work with it and not against it. I actually have a bucket of ornaments that sit at the base of the tree. This bucket has ornaments that are ‘fair game’ for the girls. These ornaments cannot be broken, the girls are very reinforced by them because they have pictures of family members on them (win, win) and if they make it onto the tree, I am just as happy.
They are able to play, explore and put these ornaments wherever they want on the Christmas tree!
If you give them access to a few of the ornaments, they won’t feel as restricted. This also makes them feel less apt to go after the ‘more valuable/breakable’ ornaments.
I’ve noticed that since I’ve done this, they have actually played with the ornaments much less. It is almost like I have taken the fun out going after the Christmas tree… It appears less “forbidden”.
Mama- 3, Kids- 0
Their own, tiny tree!
This last suggestion is more of a fun decorating experience. Just one more way to have the kids involved in helping with Christmas decorating :).
We went to Trader Joes and they have tiny Christmas trees. There is a “Decorate your own” decorating kit. My girls had so much fun doing this because they can be very independent with this.
One other thing… It is kind of prickly. It will KIIIIIND of be a natural consequence if your little one touches it on the table. You may actually get a center piece to stay, haha.
Mama- 4, Kids- 0
Lots and Lots of Wine… CHEERS!
Okay, this is not one that has a lot of research backing it… Nor is this holiday dependent. This is just something that anyone with a toddler should probably just follow suit. Find a favorite wine or chocolate (or whatever your vice is) to survive, haha! Cheers, mama, we are all in this together :).
Mama- 5, Kids, 0
Actually, reflecting back at the scoreboard, I think the kids were earning points too because they were having just as much fun! If you can find fun, holiday experiences that you can enjoy too, ESPECIALLY WITH A TODDLER, it probably means it is worth it! I hope you enjoy your holiday season.