With Christmas here and everyone in the festive spirit, there will no doubt be a few family gatherings in the calendar. You may be eager to try one of Mum’s homecooked mince pies and can’t wait to have a catch up with your brothers and sisters after another busy year. Or, on the other hand, perhaps you’re dreading your brother-in-law’s cheesy jokes and the compulsory Christmas cracker paper hats.
However, having family gatherings can be wonderful for your children. It can be the highlight of their holidays, with the chance to be surrounded by people who care about them. Help your children to enjoy these family gatherings by making sure they feel comfortable. Perhaps there will be other children and cousins who are the same age, or maybe there are people who will spend time with the kids playing Monopoly, having a go at a video game or watching a favourite Christmas film together. Younger children may enjoy helping with the dinner preparation.
Here are 5 tips for making the most of this Christmas:
1. Encourage interaction with Grandma and Grandad
The bond between children and grandparents is a very special one. And family gatherings are great time to nurture that bond. Remember to bring along some books that Grandma can read to the children, or a board game they could all play together.
2. Avoid confrontation
If your sister-in-law always puts you or your child down, she’ll probably do it again. Just be prepared with a response that will re-frame the situation, subtly reminding her that her comments are offensive without creating a family feud. For instance, if she once again exclaims how tall your daughter is, meaning too tall, you can respond, “Yes, isn’t she gorgeous!”
3. Be aware of potential problems and come up with a strategy
If your brother lets his children run wild, whilst you are more safety conscious, see if you can agree on an activity for all your children to do together. Choose an activity that keeps the children busy but has limitations, such as group-friendly video games, Christmas themed arts and crafts or hide and seek away from the living room where the adults can relax.
4. Get the adults involved too
See if you can come up with at least one activity that everyone can participate in. If your children are over 5 years old, charades can be a fun family game, one that enables them to come up with names of books, videos or TV shows with which they are familiar, and to act them out to the level of their ability.
5. Take photos or videos to build family memories
Family photos can be casual, with people in everyday clothes, or more formal, with dressier attire. Try to capture the moment – not the pose, that way you get children’s natural smiles and not cheesy grins to get the true feeling of your Christmas. Avoid sitting with the camera all-day by having a quick think about what photos you’d like. If it’s everyone together then try a photo at the table just before lunch is served. Natural photos of the children are best in the morning when they are at their liveliest. And earlier in the day is better – before Grandpa falls asleep!
However you choose to spend your time at Christmas, and with whatever mix of family and friends, we at Care.com wish you a peaceful and enjoyable holiday season!
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