Christmas is just about here. Hopefully your gifts are bought and wrapped, and your plans are falling nicely into place.
If you have children the anticipation of Christmas is heightened. The lights, the music, the recitals and rehearsals… the excitement ramps up and there’s a great deal of change in a kid’s normal routine. And that’s without the sugar!
As parents we want our kids to enjoy the fun of Christmas. We like to let them stay up a little later and play a little longer. It’s fun to watch them gobble up sweet treats and Christmasy goodies at gatherings and holiday events. The memories in our minds and hearts are fond and nostalgic and motivate us to be lenient during this festive time.
There’s nothing wrong with that provided good boundaries and discipline remain in effect.
Kids may have a break from school but that doesn’t mean they have a break from respecting their parents, doing their chores, helping mom a little extra around the house and being pleasant with their siblings. As parents we need to let our kids know from the start what the expectations are and how they can meet them. You’ll need to set out – BEFORE things get going – what the consequences will be if those expectations are not met.
Here are some examples.
Yes… you may sleep in as long as you like. However, your bed must be made, your face washed, teeth brushed, hair combed and floor tidied before noon every day. If not, there will be no video games or movies for you that day.
Yes… you are welcome to eat your stocking sweets and chocolates at Grandma’s house today. However, you must eat some turkey and some vegetables at dinner, and you must be quick to obey everything you are told – getting a sugar high is no excuse for bad behavior. If you disobey me, I’ll pack all your treats into the freezer and you can have them back one at a time after a week.
If your children are really young, supervising their sugar intake will be your biggest defense against disruptive behavior. Make sure the kids have a solid protein-filled breakfast, and that each meal has healthy choices. Make sure they are drinking water instead of juice to avoid those extra grams of sugar. Even fruit juices can be too much at Christmas time.
Nap time is important too. Even younger school kids can use a nap in the afternoon if the night is going to be late. Mom… a nap for you will give you a little more elastic in your patience too! So slip between the covers for an hour on a busy holiday so you can outlast your super-energized children!
Keep your word. If you have laid out a consequence for your kids honor them by keeping your word. It will help them understand that you are serious. Explain that you want them to have the best possible Christmas ever.
It’s impossible to keep your routines during the holidays. Teaching our kids how to behave in exciting situations is part of our job. We want them to have fun. We want them to understand the season is not just for filling our bellies with good food or getting the most presents possible. Teaching them the true meaning of Christmas – that Jesus Christ came to make it possible for them to have a friendship with Him – is much easier when we balance the fun and festivities with rest and other healthy guidelines.
What about you?
- What have you done to make parenting easier during the holiday season?
- Do you have a Christmas disaster story to share?