Balancing the needs of children with the demands of holiday schedules is key, said Susan Smiga, associate professor of psychology at the University of California-San Francisco.
"I think you want to let them slide a little bit," she
said."At the same time, kids benefit from structure."
For instance, bedtime can be an important part of the routine to maintain, even during holiday celebrations, said Smiga
, director of the Child and Adolescent Outpatient Psychiatry Clinic at the Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute at UCSF
"You don't want them to have their schedule disrupted ... or have less sleep just because of the holidays," she
said."Then you've got a battle, and it's difficult for everyone."
Helping kids maintain control through the hectic holiday season can help ease a stressful time, Smiga
recommends giving them age-appropriate choices when possible.
"For instance," she
said, "if normally the kids need to be in bed by 8 p.m., you might want to let them stay up until 9 p.m., as long as the chores are done - or something along that line.That allows the child to have some control."
said it's also important for parents to balance it for themselves.
Parents need to make time to enjoy the holiday with their children, she
said.And remembering to mold the sense of generosity parents want to engender in their children is essential -- teaching them to give as well as to accept gifts graciously.
"Parents feel guilty if they're not buying everything on the list," she
said."Try to focus on the other aspects of the holiday season."
And maintain a household routine.
"Even good things happening in our lives can be disruptive to the routine," Smiga
For tips on discipline and maintaining routines during the holidays, go to http://www.parenthood.com/
For more serious concerns about childhood behavior or disorders, go to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry