christmas kidThe holiday season can be a tough time to be a parent. Late nights, broken routines, too much sugar and over excitement can be a recipe for disaster. And that's just you! But despite the new toys and endless supply of lollies, our kids can find it hard to adjust to changes in routine and circumstances. They need their mums and dads to maintain their boundaries, and to help them navigate the challenges of the Silly Season. To avoid meltdowns, try to maintain your routine as much as possible. Regular sleep, feeding and milk times will keep littlies happy, and allow you to enjoy your celebrations. Once you see the signs of fatigue or distress, act on them immediately. Active management is a better approach than ignoring it, so be prepared to leave early or put littlies down wherever you are, and give lots of cuddles. It may be a party, but kids need limitations. Fizzy drinks and lollies are to be expected, but mums and dads need to establish some rules, and ensure that littlies eat healthy meals too. Try to enlist the help of family and friends, by asking them not to give lollies as gifts, or to hide the choccies until after lunch. As much as we’d like to pretend that everyone plays happy families at this time of year, we have all experienced one of those family get-togethers where not everyone gets along. Family arguments can be scary for littlies, so try to pre-empt or avoid them, or ask certain family members to take it outside when the tension starts to build. Invite warring parties on different days, put them at opposite ends of the table, or distract them with jobs. Occupy the kids by organising a range of indoor and outdoor activities. Enlist the help of other guests, or consider asking a babysitter to supervise the kids for a few hours. This is the most exciting time of year for the littlies, but they need our help to enjoy it. Call it tough love if you will, but I have it on good authority that Santa avoids kids covered in chocolate!

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