5 Behaviour Tips for a Happy Christmas Day

Updated: Mar 30, 2021

Santa, presents, chocolate, candy canes, cousins... there are a lot of exciting things about Christmas. It's the day every child looks forward to all year.

For many children, however, this excitement can get a bit much... the sugar + excitement + change of routine can equal some undesirable behaviours in the latter part of the day.

Here are 5 behaviour tips to minimise the meltdowns and maximise the happiness on Christmas day with your little ones.

1. Schedule some downtime into the day

If you're travelling around visiting family, Christmas Day can get quite hectic. Try to schedule some downtime into the day where your child can have a little bit of quiet with low stimulation. This could be as simple as going into a quiet room and reading a few stories together, or listening to a Christmas audio story. The key is to go for a quiet, calm space, with a slow-paced activity with the company of a loving adult.

2. Balance the sugar intake with some healthy choices and water

Keep tabs on your child's diet throughout the day. Start with a healthy breakfast (like porridge, eggs and toast etc.) - so you know he/she will have sustainable energy for the day. Make sure he/she gets some fruit and veggies on board throughout the day, plenty of water and something substantial for lunch - if you have to pull out a Vegemite sandwich at the Christmas table to ensure you get some food into him/her (and avoid a meltdown), don't be embarrassed - just do it. It's far better than the alternative.

3. Keep your child informed

Children thrive on routine and especially love knowing what is coming up next. You can prepare older children at the start of the day by giving them a brief rundown of the main events of the day. Children of all ages appreciate plenty of warning before a new phase takes place. For example, we are going to Grandmas soon can you please brush your teeth, then when it's five minutes until you leave say, "We're going in five minutes so can you please tidy up and hop in the car."

4. Keep nap time as normal as possible

If your child usually naps then be sure to find a quiet space for them to nap. A tired, over-stimulated, over-sugared child is definitely going to have a meltdown at some stage, it's worth the extra effort!

5. Take your child out to get some nature/active time

Try to find a spare five minutes in your day to head to the park or the beach and have a quick run around. A bit of fresh air and some exercise after Christmas lunch will make a huge difference to everyone's state of mind.

Finally, it's a good idea to have a plan up your sleeve for what you will do if your child doesn't make good behaviour choices. If your comfortable it's a good idea to communicate the plan with other adults present to ensure there are no mixed messages and there is consistency for your child.

I hope you have a wonderful, happy Christmas day with your beautiful family!!

All the best.

Kirsty xoxo

Kirsty is a Teacher, Family Coach, Mum of three special boys and author of the book 'Values Guided Parenting'.

She has combined her passion for parenting, her love of literacy and her 17 years of experience working with children & families to found Parent Like You.

Kirsty specialises in empowering parents to overcome their every day parenting challenges through her 1-2-1 coaching, online courses, and practical resources.

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