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Respect your child’s time. When you commit to something, follow through or let your child know why you can’t.
Make holiday celebrations about being with friends and family, rather than focused on gift giving.
Ask your child to write a list of her or his skills and talents. Then you write down additional strengths that your child didn’t recognize.
Model responsible behavior. If you do things that are off limits in front of a child, be ready to give a reason that is not hypocritical.
Ask your kids what they enjoy best about getting ready for (and celebrating) the holidays. Incorporate those things into your holiday planning.
Answer your children’s questions. If you don’t know the answer, admit it and work together to find it.
This holiday season, ask significant adults in your children’s lives to give gifts of time or activities (such as a trip to a park, an afternoon of baking, or a visit to a museum), rather than material goods.
Be an example of how to act—don’t just tell your children what to do or what not to do.
Monitor your family’s activity and stress levels. When kids feel overwhelmed, they’re less likely to want to do things. Sometimes it helps to say that instead of attending a holiday event for an entire day that you’re only going to stay for three or four hours.
Set a deadline for holiday gift ideas. A big budget buster occurs when your child tells you what he or she desperately wants the night before the holiday and you dash out to find it.
Interact with your children in loving, respectful, and caring ways, even when you are feeling angry or frustrated.
Make the case for family holidays. Even if kids think they’re stupid and boring, point out how they’re something your family does and values. Work to interject activities or rituals that will get your kids more interested.
Prepare for the holidays with the activities you and your family enjoy the most. Some families love going to a holiday concert. Others enjoy making holiday goodies. Others enjoy making gifts to give.
Congratulate your children when they resolve a conflict on their own.
Create a holiday budget. List everyone for whom you plan to buy a gift. Set a budget for each person and then follow that budget.
Maintain a positive attitude about education. Don’t reinforce negative attitudes about the value of education by asking questions such as, “Won’t you be glad when it’s winter break?”
Let your children know that you will always be there for them, and work on building strong relationships that are characterized by warmth, boundaries, and respect.
Be honest about your family’s difficulties. No family is perfect, and every family has its stressors and weaknesses. Talk about these and work through them together.
Always be clear and consistent about the consequences your kids will face for varying infractions, including lying about bad behavior. Then make sure that you always follow through on those consequences.
Regularly express your caring—verbally and nonverbally—to your children.