Christmas is a lovely time to visit family and the ideal time to catch up with loved ones. Whilst as adults we enjoy this, it can sometimes be a little too much for children. Young children particularly need to be kept entertained, so sitting in a room full of adults chatting isn’t exciting enough for them. Rather than let them get bored, fed up and therefore troublesome you should make sure you are organised and have plenty for them to do.
So what can you do to make life visiting relatives easier?
Plan Your Visits
One of the best things you can do is plan your visits around other young children in the family. Visiting households with other children in is great because they can all help to keep each other entertained. If you are visiting homes where there are no young children then try to arrange the visit with other young relatives. That way they can play with each other and this will help to keep them both happy. Both children could even bring a small game with them to play on together while they are there. It isn’t a massive step or something that is going to be too hard to arrange, but it something that is going to make all of the difference. Your children will be entertained, and you can get on with having a catch up with the grownups – perfect for everyone!
Making Travelling Easier
One thing that many children struggle with is the travelling element of visiting relatives. Let’s face it being sat in a car or on a train for a number of hours isn’t one of the most exciting things that you can do. As children, this is even less fun!
You need to make sure you do what you can to ensure that the journey isn’t going to be too dull. If they get tired and fed up they’ll start crying and throwing tantrums and this is something that you’re going to want to avoid at all costs.
Taking games and items that they can play while you travel is the ideal solution to this. A children’s tablet or letting them play games on your smartphone can really help. The great thing about these is that you are able to download all sorts of games. This allows you to download a new game for them once they get bored of the one they are currently playing.
Keeping Them Entertained While They Are There
If you are visiting relatives the same tactics can work for this. If they have been travelling a long time, then you might find that they are already fed up of this and want something new to do.
If the house you are visiting as a computer why not ask if your child can sit and play on it? From the Cbeebies websites to free online shooting games for kids, there is so much that children can see and do online. As the computer (or laptop) is new to them, they are likely to be very excited to be able to use it. Simply point them in the right direction of a number of games and the chances are that they are going to be entertained for quite some time.
The adults in the household can take turns to play with them and show the child what to do. Not only does this mean that playing will be easier for them, but they are less likely to mess around if an adult is with them. Of course, your adult relatives will want to spend time with your children too, so this is the perfect way to make that happen and keep everyone happy.
Try and make sure that they bring their favourite toy with them too, as long as it isn’t too big. This will make them feel right at home and should help to keep them entertained.
Taking What You Need
If you are taking young children, you need to be prepared for the whole day. This means taking all of the usual things you would take if you were going out and about. Don’t assume that because you are going to someone else’s house they will already have these items because you just don’t know. So pack as if you were out all day and that way you can feel confident you’re going to have everything you could possibly need throughout the door. This means spare clothes, juice, snacks, baby wipes, and much more. It can seem like a bit of a fuss to pack all of this but you’ll have a much better day out if you make sure that you do.
When you know you are going to be out and about all day, put together a pack that can help when it comes to keeping kids happy. A bag with some of their favourite toys and simple items such as colouring books and pencils can be enough. You can then whip these out when they are needed and hopefully keep your children happy for just a bit longer.
Rewarding For Good Behaviour
It is important that you let children know why it is so important to visit these relatives and what is expected of them. As long as they know the importance of seeing these people and what you are going to be doing while they are there, children should be able to behave.
What you need to do is make sure that you recognise that this might have been a struggle for your children. Make sure that they know how appreciative you are of their good behaviour.
Perhaps you could end the day by going out for dinner to their favourite restaurant or treating them to a new toy. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, but just a small token to show that you appreciate that they were well behaved. They’ll remember this for next time you go visiting and it will be much easier to keep them happy that time too!