DO’s & DON’T: How to have a Happy Family Christmas
• Don’t Give your children their big or much requested presents just before the rest of the family arrives. It’s unrealistic to expect small children to share a brand new, longed-for toy with a horde of invaders.
• Do Give the older children their presents while the babies are having their post-prandial sleep. Then they’re guaranteed an hour of marble-run fun without a 15 month-old’s ‘help’. Plus, it gives them time to enjoy it by themselves – especially if it requires some sort of construction or deep reading.
• Do Split Up! Get one adult to play games with a couple of children; another to do colouring and another to sit and have a cuddle. Share the load so you can all get some one-on-one time together and not peeled pulled in all directions.
• Don’t Stay In. Cooped up children are fractious children. Try to get out and get some fresh air and let them have a run in the park, let them throw stones in the river or, try out that new bike/scooter. It will help them burn of some excess energy also. You’ll have the whole place to yourself – so you can get on with the dinner or have a sneaky glass of bubbles and some chocolate – as all the other families will be busy killing one another indoors!
• Do Keep Diversions Handy. Christmas crackers, bubbles, balloons, party poppers, and tiny stocking fillers can help you through the tricky moments. This is also a good time to open those craft and art gifts.
• Do Stick To your normal rules (or, a slightly more relaxed version of them). Don’t stop disciplining them ‘because it’s Christmas’. And make it clear to your relatives in advance that it’s your house – and that all children abide by your house rules.