### Effective Strategies for Managing Entitled Children During the Holiday Season

CHRISTMAS is a much-anticipated period for children, with many having prepared their wish lists well in advance.

However, on the actual day, you may observe a shift in behavior as your typically well-mannered kids transform into impatient gift receivers, tearing through wrapping paper in a flash.

The lead-up to Christmas generates immense excitement, fueled by the anticipation of receiving desired gifts. The abundance of presents under the tree can even trigger a change in demeanor, turning even the most angelic children into somewhat less agreeable versions of themselves.

As a parent, navigating this shift can be challenging, especially in the presence of extended family members who may not grasp the reasons behind such behavior. Despite the complexities, there are strategies to uphold the true essence of Christmas and instill a sense of gratitude in your children.

Commence by imparting the genuine significance of Christmas, emphasizing the value of spending quality time with loved ones, whether family or friends. Displaying non-materialistic attitudes and demonstrating empathy when receiving gifts that may not meet expectations are crucial aspects of parental guidance.

Encouraging children to engage in acts of generosity, such as donating to charity or local food banks, is vital. This not only fosters an appreciation for their own blessings but also cultivates a sense of fulfillment in giving to others and understanding the impact of ingratitude.

Involving children in selecting and wrapping gifts for family members can further reinforce these values. Managing children’s expectations becomes easier when they realize that not all gifts come from Santa, distinguishing between presents from him and those from family members.

For older children, establishing a budget limit and encouraging them to request gifts within that range can lead to a more contented gift-receiving experience on Christmas Day.

Understanding that children’s rapid unwrapping of gifts does not necessarily indicate ingratitude is essential. Children often enjoy the excitement of unwrapping presents and may revisit their gifts once the initial flurry subsides. To prevent overwhelm, consider spacing out the gift-opening process.

Address any instances of rudeness or disappointment promptly and constructively. Encourage children to express gratitude and consider the effort put into selecting their gifts. This approach helps children reflect on their behavior and learn to appreciate the thoughtfulness behind gift-giving.

Maintaining realistic expectations for your children and the holiday season is paramount. Remember, perfection is not a prerequisite for a meaningful Christmas or effective parenting.

Kirsty Ketley, a 43-year-old parenting expert from Surrey, UK, is the mother of Ella, 11, and Leo, 7.