#MentalHealthMonday Parenting
Maria Martin  

Mental Health Monday: The Aftermath of Christmas with Sensitive Kids

We have had a fabulous family Christmas. It’s been intense but it’s been fun and full of love and laughter. We’ve had overnight guests, cooked for 10 on Christmas day and then another Christmas dinner for 8 on Boxing day. It’s such a busy week every year because we are the ‘hub family’. We tend to host more than anyone else for the sake of practicality. We love it, but something happens with our little boy when things get crazy.

Christmas with sensitive kids - Mental Health Monday - title image - young boy outside a Christmas grotto

Christmas Eve

Our usually well behaved little guy becomes completely horrible. It started on Christmas eve when we lost track of time and didn’t feed him his lunch before leaving the house. We had to stop at the only place I knew I could get a quick bit of dairy free food and hope for the best. So he had a muffin from  a coffee shop for lunch. The rest of the day involved full blown tantrums over every single little thing, in the packed town centre (our own fault for being disorganised I suppose!). As a result, we spent far longer out and about than we had planned and of course that just made things worse.

We got home with tons of work left to do and he just wanted to cling to us relentlessly. Anyone who knows our little guy will know how fiercely independent he is, and how uncharacteristic clingy behaviour is. He has been going from cuddly to lashing out at us over the tiniest thing. I keep reminding myself that he isn’t doing it on purpose, he’s just tired and confused. We stopped the feverish tidying and organising and played trains on the floor until his eyes started getting heavy and put him to bed. He had conked out before I had even finished reading to him.

Christmas Day

We didn’t think much of his low appetite on Christmas eve, but after we specifically made him mashed potatoes and peas to go with christmas dinner the next day. They are two of his favourite foods and he didn’t even touch them. That’s when we knew this was more than just toddler fussiness, he was struggling. The over excitement had drained our little lad and then we sit him at a usually calm table with 9 other people, Christmas crackers and music and expect him to eat dinner as normal but at lunch time?

No. It just wasn’t happening.

We let him go, knowing that he was snacking through the day and that we could try again later. He had a late nap, followed by a jam sandwich and more excitement – the poor kid doesn’t know which way is up and which way is down by the time he gets to bed 3 hours after his bedtime.

Boxing Day

Boxing day rolls around and we do it all again with my side of the family (on a smaller scale). There are sweets and snacks everywhere, he somehow gets away with eating an entire moo-free chocolate Santa in one hit. He’s baffled by the food that has milk in it so he isn’t allowed to eat it… but everyone else is.

When he refused his meal again on Boxing day I felt a pang of guilt that we had put him in this position. He’s acting out because suddenly everything he knows has changed in the blink of an eye and he has no idea how to handle it.

I’m tempted to pack away the decorations early to help us get back to normal as soon as possible. My poor little guy is exhausted and miserable, especially now all the presents are done and the people are gone. We’re just left here with wrapping paper all over the place and a super fractious little boy who is needing a lot of contact and reassurance.

So if you need me, I will be on the sofa cuddling my toddler until the new year. I will see you on the other side.

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23 thoughts on “Mental Health Monday: The Aftermath of Christmas with Sensitive Kids

  1. Carol

    It is hard when kids don’t understand and are tired. #MMBC

    1. Mummykind

      It definitely is! Hope you had a lovely Christmas and New Year

  2. Kim Carberry

    Christmas really does effect the behaviour of children. It must be so strange for little one’s to have their routine changed so much.
    My girls have had one to many late nights and were sent to bed early last night to get some rest. It worked as they were on their best behaviour today. Phew x

    1. Mummykind

      Sometimes we all need a little sleep to recharge the batteries! Hope you had a lovely Christmas and New Year

  3. thisiswhereitis at

    As an autisitic person who struggles a lot with Christmas like wise with my son I can relate to a or. It is a big change and all the usual rules seem to go out the window so can be a confusing time X #mmbc

    1. Mummykind

      Absolutely it can be! thank you for commenting 🙂

  4. […] handle (@mummykindoff) to your tweets as well as mine. Finally, she has a guest co-host post, Mental Health Monday: The Aftermath of Christmas with Sensitive Kids linked up too. Please if you could go there and add a comment it would […]

  5. Jade

    Christmas is really hard for kids as its so different to the usual routine. I am looking forward to getting back to normal on Monday #KCACOLS

  6. Karen Dennis

    My sister works in a special needs school and has mentioned the impact that Christmas can have on the children, something that I hadn’t thought about before #kcacols@_karendennis

  7. tiredbutcraftymummy

    I can imagine that the lack of routine can be really challenging during the festive period. Our toddler has found it most disconcerting and has coped with it all by sleeping far more than he usually would. His older brother is back to school tomorrow so he’ll have a snap back to reality and lose his lie ins! #KCACOLS

  8. Coombe Mill

    I think Christmas can be too much for us all sometimes, hope all is back to normal for you all now #KCACOLS

  9. thisiswhereitis at

    I hope noramiiry has resumed, much nicer Without all the festive pressure X #kcacols

  10. jermbarnes

    Poor guy. I think sometimes we all can get a bit turned around by a sudden change in routine. Hope he wasn’t coming down with a bug or something #KCACOLS

  11. Mum25boys

    I hear you 100% My 9-year-old son is very sensitive and can’t cope with a lot going on. He gets, what he calls buzzy heads. From what I understand, its a sensory overload. It can be so tough as a family as we cant go out and do as much as we would like together. #KCACOLS

  12. A Rose Tinted World

    Totally relate to this. The complete change of routine is so hard for little ones. Hope it’s all got back to normal. #KCACOLS

  13. tracey bowden

    As an adult, Christmas totally throws me out, so I get how hard it is for little ones to adapt to something that only happens once a year. Hopefully things are on a more even keel for you all now xx

  14. endardoo

    The good thing is how the negatives fade and the positives linger … usually! #KCACOLS

  15. Shelley (Wander & Luxe)

    Thanks for sharing this – I can totally relate. We went home to Australia for Christmas and my daughter whom is 2.5 years old was much more of a terrible two year old than usual. We have travelled a lot with her and whilst we have a routine, we aren’t sticklers for it. So I would say she is pretty flexible and resilient. However with the heat and different environment and so many people wanting her attention, it was just all too much for her. She was lashing out and throwing lots of tantrums and telling everyone to go away. I felt so awful and just wanted to protect her and provide a calm and quiet environment where she could relax with mummy and daddy. Parenting is definitely a constant learning process. #KCACOLS

  16. Life Love and Dirty Dishes

    It’s tough for them. All the excitement can be overwhelming. My boys are 10 and 5 and as nice as Christmas is, we all get to that point where we crave our normal routine. #KCACOLS

    1. Mummykind

      Yes! And, as a parent, I cannot wait to go back to work haha

  17. Ruth - Mummy and the Mexicans

    Sometimes we don’t really think about how hard all the disruption of normal routines is for kids. Everything can get a bit chaotic. I think we’re still recovering from the holidays in mid-january! #kcacols

  18. crummymummy1

    Hope you have had some down time & managed to recover and get back to normal now! #KCACOLS

  19. […] Mental Health Monday: The Aftermath of Christmas with Sensitive Kids […]

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