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Holiday Dress Rehearsal

You hope that all will go well on the way to grandma’s house. Things go well in the car, but as soon as the door opens at her house, your child turns into a Tasmanian Devil! A whirling dervish of mayhem that grates on family members and causes you unneeded embarrassment and stress.

Here are some tips that can help prevent your child from turning into a Tasmanian Devil – so that everyone can appreciate the wonderful​, talented, and creative side of your child

Schedule, schedule, schedule

You and your child can sit together in a quiet place and draw a timeline with pictures. Start with a drawing of your car at your house with the time you will be leaving placed just below the car. Mark a point on the timeline where snacks will be eaten, where you will stop for lunch, take a restroom break, etc. Encourage your child to document your trip on the timeline including sights along the way, unique cars they see, the towns you pass, etc. This gives your child structure, a sense of participation, and keeps them occupied.

New or different environments can cause rambunctious behaviour

It can be difficult for your child to control themself with the added excitement of the holidays. To minimise inappropriate behaviours and maximise holiday cheer, rehearse the event beforehand. Assign family members a part in the rehearsal; you and your child will play yourselves. Select one other family member to play the role of the friend or family member whose house you will be visiting. Brainstorm with your child Act I, Act II, Act III, and Act IV.

Act I
: driving to person’s house.
Act II: being greeted at the door and spending time with the host prior to dinner.
Act III: dinner.
Act IV: activity after dinner and goodbyes.

For each Act, discuss expectations and timelines. After this discussion, you should act out and rehearse each part of your ‘play’. Take the opportunity to redirect when behaviours are inappropriate and provide positive feedback when your child displays desired behaviours during your rehearsal. An interactive dress rehearsal will allow your child to develop a clear understanding of expectations over the holidays.

Use a secret code

A word like “watermelon” or a gesture like touching the tip of your nose can be your secret code to your child that means they need to adjust their current behaviour. Allowing your child to practice this during your dress rehearsal can be fun and will keep you from having to yell or discipline your child in front of family.

Make the most of your child’s talents

While visiting family of friends, let your child recite a poem, do magic tricks, take care of a younger child, present the host with some artwork they did while waiting for dinner, set the table, or sing holiday songs.

Prep other family members

It’s always a good idea to prep other family members you’ll see over the holidays and ask them to provide positive praise for good behaviour. This can make a world of difference.

Remember, the December holidays are a very exciting and stimulating time. If you have a child that is easily overexcited, the holidays can easily exacerbate this. A little preparation clearly defining your expectations can lead to a far merrier and less stressful holiday season. ​

At Biolink Attention Training, we want nothing more than to see your child be successful, just as much as you do. If you feel that you need some help in guiding your son or daughter with their academics or address a cognitive issue that’s affecting their school life, then contact us today or find a center near you.

Lizaan Spangenberg
Biolink Attention Training Head Office