Keeping Kids Out of Trouble at Holiday Gatherings

momfamily fun & traditions

When I was a kid, I remember Christmas vacation as the season for endless road trips to visit relatives in distant lands...

El Paso.

St. Helena.

Walla Walla.

kids in trouble at holiday family gathering

We made these holiday pilgrimages to family.  With every mile our Le Baron drove got us closer to grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

Although those are fond road trip memories for me, they will not be my kids' memories.

My kids have their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins here.  Almost everyone lives within an hour.  The relatives that live away come this direction due to the large mass of family members in the Dallas area.

I know how good we have it.  I appreciate that my kids see their grandparents on a weekly basis.  I love that they are a major part of the boys' daily life.

So life is all candy canes and gum drops!

Ummmm....no.

Familiarity has its price.

BECAUSE my kids know their grandparents so well, they are very comfortable in their presence.

Comfortable in their presence = the tendency to act like they act at home.

Oh lordy.

They are so NICE when they are in public.  I love public.

They can be so NAUGHTY at home.  Let's go out!

Thankfully, we have very understanding relatives.  The three ring circus that I travel in is well received in good humor.

I know that adding two adults and three boys to any family gathering can be overwhelming.  I have tried to corral some of the chaos in the name of peace on earth.

Holly's Tips to Keep Kids Out of Trouble at Family Gatherings:

  • Have at least one activity that is special to that grandparent's house.  At my parents' house it is a building set that they don't have at home.  At my in-laws house it is a set of toys that were my husband's as a child and painting by number with Mimi.
  • Outdoors play is AWESOME.  Dress the kids so that you can shove them out the back door when it gets crazy.  They will figure out something to do...eventually.
  • Relax rules regarding TV and video games.  On days like this there are no rules and often it leads to a grand Wii competition with grandpa or a dance-off with an aunt.
  • Bring on the board games.  There is nothing that kids like more than playing a game with adults.  When the boys were too young to play by themselves, they would be on a team with a special adult.  In the middle of a rousing game of PIT, you won't notice the kids noise over all the adult's screaming.
  • Hugs all day.  I read somewhere that kids need 17 hugs a day.  Make sure that you give them more than you need and give the grandmas encouragement to get their hugs in as well.  The boys feel very loved and there is the bonus that by the end of the day they tend to disappear because they are all hugged out.

All hugged out is the very best kind of exhaustion.

Holly Homer Christmas list When Holly Homer isn't chasing her kids for a hug, she is writing a mom blog, June Cleaver Nirvana.  This Christmas season her boys are obsessed with their Lego Advent Calendars, playing in grandpa's tree house, and avoiding the paparazzi that is their mom.

Holly has one simple Christmas wish - peace in her house.

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