Stress due to Saint Nicholas in children. Yes, it really exists! Here's how to deal with it

Stress door sinterklaas bij kinderen. Dit is hoe je ermee omgaat

Just a few nights of sleep and then Saint Nicholas will be back in the country. For children, this means celebration, celebration, and more celebration. Chocolate letters in their shoes, a carrot for Americo, and on December 5th, pakjesavond (present evening) with the whole family. But did you know that children can also experience stress from Saint Nicholas? Think of sleepless nights, extremely busy behavior, or choice stress when putting together a gift list. How do you, as a parent, best deal with this? In this blog, we share a few tips and tell you how to recognize Saint Nicholas stress in your little one.

Stress from Saint Nicholas? Here's how to recognize it

Children who are sensitive or have difficulty coping with changes naturally experience more stress than others. Although Saint Nicholas is an incredibly fun celebration full of joy, it can also cause stress. But how do you recognize that stress in your child? Here are a few symptoms:

  • Your child is more restless than usual and has poor concentration.
  • Your child is more sensitive during this period, such as quick to cry or get angry.
  • Your child asks more questions than usual.
  • Your child wakes up more frequently at night and has trouble sleeping through.
  • Your child complains of more stomachaches.

If you recognize three or more symptoms in your child, here are a few tips on how you can help as a parent.

Don't plan too many parties

Saint Nicholas is all about celebration. At school, with the babysitter, in the village or town, and even with family and friends, there's always something going on. The question is whether you really need to attend all of these events and parties. If you want to reduce stress for your child, it's wise to keep your schedule calm. Don't go to too many activities and consciously choose which parties or activities you'll attend. You can agree on this together. Is the little one still too young? Then choose which parties you'll go to yourself.

Maintain structure and routine

We understand. During the holidays, it's very tempting to let your child stay up late or deviate from your routine. But does your child quickly get stressed? Then it's wise to stick to the regular structure and routine you normally follow. Stick to bedtime routines and morning rituals, and make sure your child gets enough rest. Staying up a little later once in a while is fine, but don't let it become the new routine for the month of December. 

Fear of strangers

Of course, it's great to capture all your special moments on camera. But there are quite a few children who are afraid of Saint Nicholas or Black Pete. Don't force your child to sit on St. Nicholas lap or come and shake Black Pete's hand for a nice photo. Especially in a busy setting with loud music or many people, this can cause overstimulation. Generally, as a parent, you don't need to do anything special; rely on the signals your child gives.

Hopefully, the above tips will give you some guidance during the holidays. And don't forget to enjoy: after all, the holidays are all about coziness and togetherness.

When do you put your shoe out?

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