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When Relative Visits Freak Out Kids

One of the things we often do during the holidays is visit relatives we don’t see very often.  While this can be a wonderful experience, sometimes it is awkward or stressful with younger children.

If kids haven’t had much time with grandma or aunt Suzy, they sometimes seem more like strangers.  It may take a while to warm up.  Grandma and aunt Suzy are usually excited and want to give hugs and ask lots of questions right off the bat.  If the kids are shy or push away it can lead to an unpleasant time for everyone.

Parents can help by preparing their children for the visit.  Bring up stories of times they saw aunt Suzy in the past.  Remind them that it was grandma who gave them a favorite toy. 

 It might be tempting to push a shy child to be friendlier, but don’t.  Kids will warm up faster if we pay attention to their feelings and let them get close on their own schedule.

If children seem too upset or go off in a corner by themselves, parents can take them aside for a little one on one time.  A short walk, a quick book read, or a shared game can go a long way.