Here comes the festive season, and for many people that means a house full of grandkids and skyrocketing stress levels.
But with a few savvy tips you can spend more time enjoying yourself and less time worrying, so that you can enjoy this special time with the little people in your life.
1. Keep food options simple
There’s no need to create a bespoke menu for the kids when they’ll be happy with a ham roll and an ice cream cone. Save your stress for the grown-ups meal, and let the kids enjoy their food quickly before heading off to play.
2. Create homemade place settings
The kids will love helping you with this. Create personalised place settings for the Christmas table. The kids can write each person’s name on the card and then decorate it with festive pictures (or glitter, if you’re game).
3. Prepare some games that suit all ages
Kids love it when adults play with them, so why not set up a fun quiz to do together, some puzzles that they can help with, or even buy something fun like a magic kit that they can use to put on a show for you.
4. Schedule in some down time
Kids don’t need to be entertained 24 hours a day, so remember to add some chill out time to your busy day. Let everyone relax and unwind – you might just find that this is when your grandkids will have their most interesting conversations with you about life (and dinosaurs).
5. Give the kids a job
Little people love to be helpful, so why not set the grandkids a task each that they can be responsible for. Perhaps they have to tell you when the ice is running low in the Esky, or ensure that there are enough beach towels by the pool. Keep it simple and suited to their age and competency.
6. Offer craft on your terms
If you want a glitter-free kitchen then that’s your call, so don’t buy any craft supplies that you aren’t happy to have all over the floor. Why not try wreath building, biscuit decorating (using good old Arrowroot biscuits rather than making your own), or writing and decorating a letter for Santa?
7. Baby wipes for the win
Keep a few packets of wipes around the house near any areas where food will be consumed to mop up spills or sticky fingers. Near the craft station is a good idea too. And in your car. And in your bag. Just buy loads of wipes, OK?
8. Keep emergency films on hand
There’s nothing like a rainy day to throw little kids into a cabin-fever induced frenzy. Keep a few classic films in the house, either from the library, DVD shop, or borrowed from a friend, to have on hand – just in case. Disney or Pixar films are always popular.
9. Turn up the tunes
Kids can naturally gravitate to TV if they aren’t feeling entertained. If you want to avoid this, try playing fun music when you are just pottering about at home. Encourage them to choose some music or make up a dance for their parents.
10. Organise a treasure hunt
Need some peace and quiet while you tend to the food preparation? Take the time to set up a treasure hunt for the kids. Keep them occupied with a series of clues to find to get a prize, or a scavenger hunt with items to be ticked off a list.
11. Keep the fruit bowl full and accessible
Kids seem to get hungry so often, and it can quickly turn into a full blown meltdown if not attended to. Keep the fruit bowl at kid height and stock it with easy to eat fruit that they love. Or prepare a few tubs of fruit salad that they can grab from the fridge when they need refuelling.
What tips have you got for surviving the silly season with small children? We would love to hear from you in the comments.