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    Parenting Tips for the Holidays

    Parenting tips can help ease the stress of the holidays.

    continued...

    Mary Jo McCurley of the Dallas law firm McCurley, Orsinger, McCurley & Nelson, also suggests parents firm up the visitation schedule in advance, no surprises. Try not to overschedule kids, she advises -- they are already moving around. Help you child shop for your ex-spouse and be positive about the other parent. Don't convey feelings of anxiousness about your being alone on "the big day." Also -- don't compete for the affections of the child by breaking the bank with a "big gift."

    Keep Routines as Best You Can

    Newman suggests bedtimes be maintained, even if relatives plead, "Let them stay up, it's the holiday." People need sleep, she says, even adult people. "The next day is a holiday, too," Newman says, "no one wants to deal with sleep-deprived kids. You do them a disservice if you allow them to stay up."

    Kids also should not be allowed to OD on sugar and snack food. "Ask the grandparents to go easy," smiles Newman.

    Most of all, be inclusive -- if kids are included in an event, introduce them, coach them to use proper manners, and if they need you off alone for a few minutes, make the time.

    There's a payoff. If the kids are less stressed, you will be, too. That's the best present of all.

    Star Lawrence is a medical journalist based in the Phoenix area.

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    Reviewed on November 16, 2004

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