Disciplining Little Ones During the Holidays


From the onslaught of Halloween candy all the way til New Year’s, children seem to be on a stimulation and sugar overload. Before special events dissolve into frustrations and empty threats, arm yourself with techniques that will help diffuse and discipline the little people who seem to hijack the anticipated events with meltdowns.

As my big kids get older, I have learned to simplify for my new little ones. Meeting physical needs is obviously a great deterant. Open the calendar and try to keep their time routines. I also try and keep their meals nourishing and consistent at home. I actually don’t have many treats at home during this season. I want to be able to say yes abundantly when we are out at special occasions. This limits the dyes and sugar significantly that trigger melt downs without being a downer.

I have a book in my parenting library that wouldn’t be a typically expected recommendation. It is a book that is at the top of my list for parents in the adoption world. However, I think it is helpful for many parents that find themselves with challenging kiddos where other strategies may not have worked. It is called The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis. I love that it always gets at the heart of the action. For instance, jumping on the bed isn’t necessarily “wrong” but disobeying Mommy who said to not jump on the bed is the wrong choice. It also teaches to have a child re-do an interaction the right way after messing up. (“Let’s go back and try and again. This time let’s ask your friend for the toy instead of grabbing it from him”). This way you can praise the right choice the second time around. It has become a great way to encourage good choices and help them accept consequences.


These are just a few ways I will use to help my babies enjoy the festivities without epic tantrums.

Do you have other tips to help kids stay regulated during the holiday season?

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Cate Johnson has been married to her best friend, Sean, for 12 years. She is the mother to their daughters who came home through international adoption in 2008. They also have a son that came home through domestic adoption in March 2011. The baby is another son, who is biological. Cate is passionate about Jesus, photography, writing and adoption and attachment. She also loves coming alongside prospective adoptive parents as well as those struggling through transition and attachment. Cate blogs about all of these topics and more at Gathered From Afar and Attaching Hearts.


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