Family gatherings, school events, and various celebrations make the holidays fun and magical! But this can also be a trying time for children. From disruptions in routine, to overly stimulating social activities, to high emotions… the holidays can be a recipe for a meltdown. In children and parents! So, let’s explore what you might be able to do to prevent a meltdown in your child and spare everyone’s sanity.



Here are a few ideas from our therapists to help prevent a meltdown with your child this holiday season.



Holidays are major routine disruptors. Children thrive on routine. It’s common for a child’s temperament to change drastically when their day-to-day routine is disrupted. Chaos makes it a little more difficult to prevent a meltdown. Whenever possible, it’s important to stick to your regular schedule. Eat meals at normal times, if you have a napping child, maintain their regular nap schedule, and stick to an ordinary bedtime as much as possible. If you want to allow your child to break a rule, such as staying up later than normal, explain that this is something they get to do until school starts again. Your sanity will thank you!




This may seem odd but hear us out. Not every child, or adult for that matter, is comfortable with physical interaction. An experience many can relate to is walking into family gatherings with relatives rushing forward asking for hugs and kisses. If you know your child recoils at close interactions, talk to them about an alternate greeting. A high five, thumbs up, or a fist bump may all be perfectly acceptable.

If a family member insists on a “space-invading greeting,” it’s ok to advocate for your child. Politely and firmly stand by your child’s choice of greeting. In doing so, your child learns they are in charge of their body, and get to say “no.” Family gatherings provide an excellent training ground for this. The more practice your child gets, the greater their confidence becomes in saying “no” to others, even strangers, who may make them uncomfortable.

Another article that may help with this: Books About Children, Body Parts, and How to Set Safe Boundaries




Good communication is important to create and maintain trust between child and parent. Have regular discussions with your child about how they feel in different situations. Find out if your child feels overstimulated after a short time at a party. Do large crowds seem to scare them? Knowing and understanding how your child may react in certain situations makes it easier to prevent negative reactions in the future. It will give you a deeper understanding when you’re in the thick of a meltdown.




If time is divided between homes, it is in the child’s best interest that co-parents discuss and agree on a holiday schedule. This could be the schedule you agreed to when you first created your parenting plan. Or it could be a revised schedule because you are visiting Grandma and Grandpa on the East coast this year. Either way, be sure both parents are on the same page and understand the holiday gatherings your child will attend and with whom. Discuss any points of concern with one another so you’re aware and can support the child through any challenges. And we all love to have something to look forward to. Once you know, let your child know what the plans are this holiday season.





Creative Counseling Center is a source of support for counseling in the DTC area. Whether parenting coaching for yourself or play therapy for your child, we will help equip your family with tools to thrive. If you are interested in learning whether counseling is right for you, we invite you to request a Free Phone Consultation. All you have to do is complete the brief form below. A member of our team will reach out to you and help determine whether our practice and which therapist would be best suited for your specific circumstance. If our practice is not a good fit, for whatever reason, we’re happy to offer recommendations to providers in the DTC or Denver metro area. We look forward to connecting with you soon.