Christmas, although a time of great joy and celebration, can also be the most stressful of times for even the best of parents, with the family home chaotic and often besieged by visitors. Throw into the mix over excited children who have weeks to sit around at home and the situation can quickly spiral out of control.
Keeping your children calm and entertained will be the key to helping keep the peace and getting through the Christmas holiday period with as few hiccups as possible. But before you begin to think about your children make sure you give yourself some time each day to relax and unwind.
It is important with so much going on around you that you make time for yourself, keep your energy levels up and remain positive in order to keep on top of everything – successful parents will look after themselves as well as their kids, setting an example of behaviour that their children can look up to and imitate.
Here are a few practical tips to help you and your children have the happiest Christmas ever:
• Make time for both you and your kids: – provide times of the day where you will be together and uninterrupted (don’t even answer the phone!). Similarly make sure that at least once a week you give yourself enough time to do things you want without distractions.
• Organise group and family activities to keep your children as active as possible, such as making Christmas cards, decorations or wrapping presents.
• Homework: – provide your children with some options as to when they should do their homework. If possible try to get them to complete this early in the holidays as the later they leave it the less motivated they will be.
• Give your children a sense of routine, keeping to weekly events. You could also provide them with some added responsibilities such as some regular housework. They could then complete this in return for being allowed to watch the TV for a little while extra etc. This will give you a little respite and reminds your children that holidays are not simply an excuse to do nothing at all.
• When disputes break out between siblings try to remain calm as this helps to prevent their squabbles escalating. Take them both to one side and explain the behaviour that you do want to see very clearly and specifically. Focus on the positive things you see and hear and give praise when your child does something you want to see – no matter how small this may be.
• Find some good quality ‘me’ time where you go and relax in a hot foamy bath with aromatherapy candles, or sit down and read a gossipy magazine or good book. Take time for you to re-charge your batteries so you come back refreshed and relaxed ready to start a new day.
• Write a ‘to do’ list and then put people’s names, including your children’s names, next to that job. Learning to delegate teaches everyone responsibility and it takes away your sense of feeling overwhelmed, keeping the spring in your step at a busy time of year.