Christmas – the most wonderful time of the year – has been and gone. There was turkey, presents, laughter… and very energetic children!
It’s often a challenge to keep kids entertained over the festive period. Because even though there are lots of cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents around to give Mum and Dad a break, sometimes the excitement boils over and it all ends in tears.
My grandchildren certainly kept us on our toes over the last few days. I expected Alfie to be over exited as he is starting to understand the concept of Christmas, but even Grace, who is normally so meek and mild, has been a little bundle of energy. Their mum insisted on sticking (roughly) to their regular routine even with all the fun and games happening, and this seemed to have been their (and our) saving grace.
I recently read that the parenting author Sue Atkins believes keeping to similar meal and bed times is a good idea to help ensure kids don’t get over excited during Christmas.
Her advice is that even if you’re staying with relatives, you should try to have the same patterns of calming them down before they sleep so they get ready for bed time as you do when they’re at home.
Because I have Alfie and Grace to stay at my house a lot, they are fairly comfortable in my home. But when they stay over, as they did at Christmas, their mum always makes sure their bedtime comforter comes along.
Obviously, it’s up to every parent to decide what they think is best for their kids, but in my opinion you can’t go too wrong when you allow them variations from the routine in moderation.
At Christmas, Alfie stayed up a bit later than usual, but not massively so and then also not every night. He was allowed one chocolate coin before breakfast (you should have seen his face! Suspicious is one way of describing it…). He probably watched a bit more TV than usual, but we also went for a few long walks and played in the park so he got fresh air and the chance to get rid of some energy.
So I think what worked for our family this Christmas was to relax the routines a bit, but not too much. That way both the kids and the adults were able to really enjoy each other’s company without having to deal with overtired kids or stressed parents.
How was your Christmas with the little ones? Did you stick to their routines?