With Christmas coming up, most of us will be joining up with our family and extended family for Christmas celebrations.  Spending quality time with your children is important all year round – but Christmas can be a particularly special time to spend together and create some family traditions and rituals. So how do you manage some of the inevitable frustrations over the holidays and enjoy time together as a family?

Here is our Compass Psychology checklist for some of the dos and don’ts  to help you make the most of quality family time this Christmas.

DO enjoy time together doing Christmas rituals such as: baking, decorating the house, buying the Christmas tree, making cards and presents, calling family members who are overseas, listening to Christmas music, or reading Christmas books together.

DON’T leave kids out of this stuff – even if they only “help” you for the first two minutes, at least they had the experience of joining in, and next year they might stick around longer.


DO join in with your kids to watch family movies, either at home or at the cinema. Grab a bowl of popcorn or some other favourite food, and sit next to each other on the sofa.

DON’T send your kids off to watch movies or television alone when you could be joining in and experiencing the fun alongside them.


DO organise family events and excursions that are oriented towards kids as well as adults. If you are travelling, doing too many excursions to museums may leave kids frustrated or bored. Include trips to theme parks, play parks or other kid-friendly destinations.

DON’T organise too many events in a short space of time, which might leave the children tired and overwhelmed.


DO have regular routines in the holidays as much as possible. For example, keep  to regular mealtimes,  nap and bed times. Kids need routine and become distressed and frustrated when they don’t know what is happening next.

DON’T allow kids to skip meals, sleep in too much day after day, or stay home for days on end. Boredom and lack of activity can be very stressful for kids.