How to keep kids calm with the lead up to Christmas
Updated: Dec 6, 2022
This morning I shared live on Studio 10 some ways to keep the kids calm in the lead up to Christmas. Here are some extra tips you can put into place today to create a calm and happy home.
As of today, there’s still over 5 weeks to go until Christmas, which to us parents doesn’t seem like enough time to get everything done but for kids, it can seem like a life time.
So here are my 4 best tips for managing the Christmas anticipation:
1. Practice mindfulness. One of the best ways to avoid living in the future is to practice mindfulness as this brings us back into the present moment. Kids as young as 3 can start practicing mindfulness and a really great place to start are apps such as smiling mind and headspace
2. Stick to your normal routines and family rules. This is especially true for rules around bedtime and devices as both of these things impact on a child’s sleep. And we know tired children are grumpy children! Sometimes as parents we let the routine and rules slip a little as Christmas gets closer because we’re busy and tired however prioritising your routines and rules will help to a level of normality and predictability in the home and therefore avoiding over excitement
3. Create some short term goals. Again this can be done with kids as young as 3 but it is also really effective for older kids. Having some short term goals for kids works really well as it gives them something else to focus on and takes away that constant distraction of Christmas.
Depending on their age, some examples of these could include:
- Completing a certain amount of chores around the house
- Completing their homework or reading tasks for the night
- Completing their bedtime routine
- Looking after the family pet
They key here is to keep them short, between 5-7 days, and allow the kids to tick off their task once they’ve done it to keep them accountable and focussed on their goal. And then once the kids have completed their goal it’s always nice to have a reward so something like an outing to their favourite park or a movie afternoon
4. Create a Christmas countdown. Who doesn’t love a bit of Christmas craft?! Young kids love helping make a Christmas countdown but I’ve got kids at the end of primary school and they get just as excited to make them. With all the shops already decked out in their Christmas decorations from late October, kids often think that means Santa is coming tomorrow! So a Christmas countdown is a really great way for kids to visually see just how long is left til Christmas. It's also great to add some other milestones on there that they are looking forward to such as carols nights, dance concerts, last day of school etc so it breaks up the long wait for Christmas. It also avoids the kids coming to you to ask how many more sleeps til Santa!
Tips for dealing with older children who want the latest and greatest tech
The benefit of older kids is that we’re able to talk to them and have some really great conversations. It's important with older kids that we include them in our family conversations in an age appropriate way. We don't want our kids to carry our burdens but we also want to empower them with knowledge and make them feel like they are a valued part of the family.
1. Be honest. Talk to them about the realities of the situation. If finances are a bit tighter this year with increased living prices and interest rate hikes etc be open about it with the kids and explain how this affects the family's budget
2. Get them to write a list. The earlier the better. By having a list it gives the kids an opportunity to think about what else they would like for Christmas but it also gives you time to plan or save and hunt for the best deals
3. Make the kids the financial custodians of the Christmas money. This is a fabulous idea that kids really love doing. Let the kids know what your gift budget is and let them work together on how they think the money should be best spent. Kids really thrive when given responsibilities and it allows them to be creative with how their Christmas gift money is spent!
But this is also a really beautiful opportunity to talk to our kids about what the real meaning of Christmas is. We are all guilty of getting swept up in the excitement of Christmas so it's a great time to reflect on what Christmas is really all about, and plan as a family how you can embody the Spirit of Christmas together.
I would love to hear what your family does to keep calm in the lead up to Christmas so please do share your tips!