Child care experts offer these common-sense suggestions for parents to ease children through the hectic holiday season:
- Try to maintain a consistent routine.
- Set aside a peaceful time to share with the child, particularly when the day has been full of Christmas shopping, seeing Santa or visiting relatives.
- Watch their diets. Some experts say a lot of behavioral problems are because of extra sweets consumed during the holidays. Hold the cookies, candy and cake sometimes and substitute fruits.
- Consider children's emotional needs as well as their physical ones. "Some parents think you can give kids toys and just let them sit there playing all day long. Of course, you can't. Kids need real affection," said social worker Jo Johnson of the Costa Mesa's Child Guidance Center.
- Help children learn not to attach their self-worth to what they receive for Christmas but to learn to lean on themselves.
- If divorced, take time to visit or call your children. Let them know that you care and are thinking about them.