I am now into my fifth holiday season as an attached parent. Over the years my family has changed and grown, but one thing has remained true. Attachment parenting practices, like breastfeeding, babywearing and positive discipline, have made the holidays easier. They have smoothed the rough patches, helped me get things done, and provided everyone with a touchstone in the midst of the craziness that can happen at this time of year.
One of my big challenges over the holidays is my long to-do list. I am baking, crafting, shopping, wrapping gifts and on and on and on. A good baby carrier (or, you know, 14 good baby carriers, as the case may be) really helps me get through that list. When my toddler is on my back he’s happy and I have two free hands. It is much easier to mix up a batch of cookies when I know that my child is safely strapped to me, and not climbing on to the dining room table yet again.
My 10-month-old and I try out our new wrap in 2005
One of the other challenges I face over the holidays is getting healthy food into my children. My kids can be picky eaters sometimes, and usually turn their noses up at foods like yams and brussels sprouts that we don’t eat at home. Holiday meals are also heavy on the sweets, and of course the little ones head straight for them. But thanks to breastfeeding, I know that my toddler always has an excellent, nutritious food source readily available wherever we go.
When we’re visiting family the kids often wander off to play with their many relatives. This is great, but sometimes it can be overwhelming to little ones, and so time spent breastfeeding or babywearing can be almost like a retreat. They’re quick and easy ways to reconnect and help restore calm and reduce overstimulation. When I’m nursing I also get the chance to sit down, put my feet up, and let some other folks do the work for a bit.
I believe that respecting my children’s unique needs and abilities is very important. When I understand what my children are and aren’t capable of it reduces everyone’s frustration. After all, the easiest discipline problem to deal with is the one that doesn’t happen. This might mean that I avoid a crowded mall with an active toddler, that I leave a party early or that I set aside some time each day to spend with my preschooler. This kind of positive discipline helps things to go more smoothly at the holidays, and really any time of the year.
How about you? Have you found that attachment parenting helps you get through the holiday season? If so, please share. And, of course, have a great holiday season!
You can catch up with Amber’s regular adventures on her blog at Strocel.com.