Naughty or Nice?

Getting good holiday behavior from your kids.

Girl in Santa hat holding a present

First stop: your tween’s dance rehearsal. Then, a visit to a local charity. Next, it’s last-minute shopping for gifts, making cookies for your eight year-old’s class party, and then a holiday dinner – and that’s just your Saturday!

A day like that can often drive even the merriest of people to make a less-than-polite grab for the store’s last set of lights or play chicken over that coveted front-row parking space. When kids get thrown into that mix of traveling, visits from relatives, and holiday events – all on top of their normal school work and activities- it’s a winter miracle that they have the energy left to behave at all!

The fact is that kids wear out faster than adults, and that tired or mentally over-stimulated children are the ones most likely to act out or throw fits.

With that in mind, use these tips to keep your younger generation on the “nice” list this season.

  • Manage your festivities. The holidays offer a seemingly endless buffet of parties, plays, gift exchanges, and charity opportunities. While it might seem like the more fun and festive approach to say, “yes” to everything, let your family enjoy a few well-planned activities over a million rushed ones. Space them out on your calendar, and plan some relaxed family downtime in between so kids and can rest up. Remember, they’ll also need their energy to actually celebrate the holiday!

  • Keep routines on your holiday to-do list. Kids thrive on routines, and although the holidays (and holiday guests) mean well, they tend to wreak havoc on everyday schedules. Choose some of the best-kept habits–bedtime, for instance–and stand your ground. And even through Grandma and Grandpa may try to bend the rules when they visit, do your best to keep them.

  • Prevent any reindeer games. Another thing the holidays offer is countless opportunities for kids to make mischief – whether on purpose or accident. Save your family from these faux-pas by letting kids know what’s expected of them before the formal dinner party at Aunt Jean’s house or the neighborhood caroling. Then, practice tricky situations – anything and everything from how to speak politely to distant relatives to what to do if you forget your blessings during the lighting of the Menorah.

  • Limit the season’s sweets. The holidays come chock full of goodies that can leave kids bouncing off the walls or grumpy due to the inevitable stomachache. Its okay to allow some special treats, but you’ll be doing everyone a favor if you keep them in moderation and ensure that your children are getting plenty of nutritious foods as well.

And last, but not least, be sure to set your own expectations. The season represents a joyous time for friends and family to gather, not a time when everything has to be perfect – including your kids’ behavior. Instead, keep your goals realistic, and you and your family are sure to have the happiest of holidays!

Ready for strategies to bring out the BEST in your kids’ behavior all year long? Join us for a FREE WEBINAR today: Get Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling. Find upcoming dates/times here.


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About the Author

Amy McCready
Nationally recognized parenting expert Amy McCready is the Founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and the best selling author of The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic - A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World and If I Have to Tell You One More Time…The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling. As a “recovering yeller” and a Certified Positive Discipline Instructor, Amy is a champion of positive parenting techniques for happier families and well-behaved kids. Amy is a TODAY Show contributor and has been featured on CBS This Morning, CNN, Fox & Friends, MSNBC, Rachael Ray, Steve Harvey & others. In her most important role, she is the proud mom of two amazing young men.