The highs and lows of time out with the family
Having the whole family at home together at Christmas is a rare treat for many people but for others the prospect is as daunting as having teeth pulled. Supernanny offers some tips on how to arrange the holidays at home together to promote relaxation, fun and understanding, and avoid the familiar rows.
Ask for help
Give everyone jobs. Little ones can put out crackers on the table, bigger ones can empty the dishwasher. Encourage sibling teamwork by giving them a job like washing and peeling the veg, which they can work on together.
Chores for you may be novelties to Grandad! Invite him to read to your daughter when she pleads for that favourite book for the seventy-ninth time.
Get out more
Lounging around the house for days on end will make everyone go stir crazy, so make sure you get outside. Try going for a walk on Christmas morning (wrap up well if you need to). You’ll find your neighbourhood has a totally different feel when the streets are empty and the shops are shut.
Take a trip
Most museums, zoos, theatres and other attractions close for only a day or two at Christmas, so think about taking the family to a spirited panto, a favourite haunt or trying something new.
Switch it off
Instead of squabbling over the remote, why not work out in advance which TV programmes people really want to watch, allowing each of you to choose one programme or film that day, and then turning it off the rest of the time.
Games are often used on the Supernanny show to encourage team spirit. Playing games teaches valuable life skills such as how to be patient and how to share (as well as how to compete and how to cheat!) and can be a great way of having fun with the whole family. Children as young as two can get the hang of simple games such as snakes and ladders or card matching. Orchard Toys has some fabulous games for small (and bigger) children based on matching shapes, pictures and colours. Teenagers may prefer something more challenging or devious like Articulate, Cranium or The Really Nasty Horse Racing Game.
Make dinner together
No reason why the adults should be stuck in the kitchen all day whilst there are plenty of pairs of hands around the house. On the show, Supernanny often finds that engaging kids in preparing meals means they eat better and more readily.
Try to have at least some of your meals sitting at the table as a family. If getting everyone to sit still for more than a few minutes is tricky, try playing a game, such as telling a story where each person adds a sentence in turn, or holding a quiz. Choose questions of varying difficulty then ask the youngest member of the family first and pass the question upwards if they can’t answer. You could hand out tokens for right answers and the one with the most at the end gets to win a prize or choose the activity for the afternoon. If things are too hectic for a quiz, try telling them before you sit down that there’ll be a small prize for ‘the longest at the table’, ‘ate the most veg’, ‘giggled the most’ and ‘had nicest manners’.
Limit the sugar
Munching all day on sweets is one of the quickest routes to mania and meltdown. It’s easier said than done at this time of year, but try restricting the kids’ intake to a small amount after they’ve finished their tea.
Make time for yourself
If you have adult relatives staying, take advantage of their babysitting skills to go out and enjoy some quality time with your partner. And, at least once, ignore all of the above. Pack everyone off to the cinema, put your feet up, turn the telly on and grab that box of chocolates… or hop online and compare Christmas laughs in our forum!
Wishing you all the merriest of Christmases, and remember, we’re open all hours so stop by the forum for a chat and a quick breather!