As parents we all know Christmas is a potential minefield for upsets, arguments, fallouts and fraught times. Put some of these ideas in to your planning and maybe it could be the best Christmas.

1.Don’t set your expectations too high. If Uncle Bert has always been a pain that’s unlikely to change. Don’t expect miracles.
2.Before you visit friends or relatives without their own children discuss with your children the likely duration and stick to it. They always find these types of visits particularly painful sitting amongst adults with no other children to engage with. Agree strategies that they can use to avoid boredom.
3.Let your kids wear what they want. Don’t force them to wear that itchy jumper just because Uncle Bert bought it.
4.Within reason let them eat what they want. Perhaps discuss prior the disadvantages of eating 10 mince pies just because Santa likes them too.
5.If you have a grumpy, hormonal teenager agree that they won’t stay up until 2.00am on the Xbox on Christmas Eve. Perhaps they can Christmas night…it will give you a peaceful start to Boxing Day!
6.Discuss possible flare ups that are likely (let’s be honest…THEY ARE going to happen), negotiate acceptable actions for when they do. Agree what is not acceptable not only for your child but for you and your partner also. Your child is likely to have a view on your behaviour too! Put a password in place that can be used as a warning without alerting relatives that something is amiss.
7.On the big day agree that children have jobs to do as well. Peeling sprouts, collecting up paper and boxes to recycle, walking the dog, filling the dishwasher. Children will often respond well to being given a responsibility or at least an understanding of their role, your expectation of them. (A note here…you may want to reserve the dog walking for yourself as a way of getting some me time amid the chaos.)
8.Agree in advance when it is acceptable for your teenager to go off on their own to visit friends or bury themselves in social media.
9.I am not a fan of Christmas but I have learnt over the years that my view is not appreciated by others that love it. So if like me you are a bit of a Grinch…shut up.
10.Plan some activity for the day after, don’t have the expectation that your grumpy teenager will join in. Get out and blow the cobwebs away. Remember that your youngsters may well be keen to get back and play with their new favourite game.
Above all have a fabulous festive season.
Aylesbury Therapy for Kids