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Once you have children, Christmas takes on a different focus - it's more magical, more emotive, almost certainly more expensive, but slightly unwelcome is the fact that is can be stressful because of the danger of even more children's tantrums. The excitement, the joy, the sheer exhaustion of the whole event can render the best behaved child into little monsters! So, what can we do to avoid these embarrassing meltdowns in front of the in-laws or the jealous rage just after Santa has delivered the presents? Here are a few tips!
- Tire them out! There is nothing worse than your toddler waking at 4am on Christmas morning, shouting from his bed, "Daddy, has Santa been yet?" So, make sure that on Christmas Eve you tire the kids out. Dress up warmly and go for a long walk; play some games in the park. What ever you do, just don't have a lazy day at home or they'll be up really, really early!
- Sleep time. Don't forget to try and keep to your children's normal routine, including naps and mealtimes, in order to keep their Christmas running smoothly. Don't give in to relative's pleas of keeping them up late or foregoing a nap. Stand firm and say no! Otherwise, they'll be over run with excitement and will collapse with the lack of routine and it could spoil Christmas for everyone. Keep things as "normal" as possible!
- Sweets on Christmas morning. If your children get a pile of chocolate and sweets make it clear that they can eat them, but that there are rules! Chocolate and sweets should be rationed over time and eaten later in the day. They'll last longer and you won't suffer a crazy sugar surge before breakfast that could put you all in a bad mood!
- Present mountain. It's great to have a pile of lovely gifts for your kids to open on Christmas morning. It's so nice to see their excited faces as they rip open wrapping paper. But, remember that your little ones don't necessarily need masses of expensive gifts from parents - especially if you have friends or family who'll be giving presents too. You can get some reasonably priced presents at cheaper shops which will be as exciting to open... but cost less!
- More pudding? Don't expect too much from your little ones during dinner. Sitting through a long chatty dinner is not going to be easy for them, so give them a normal portion of food and let them leave the table when they are done! No one will expect them to remain to make polite conversation while the adults finish-off their second helpings.