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A Child Friendly Xmas

Mind your children this Christmas – that’s the message from Child, Youth and Family chief executive Jackie Brown.

“The important thing for all of us is to ensure we properly look after children. We all know that Christmas can be one of the most stressful times of the year. Extra pressures on families can spill over into abuse and neglect of youngsters if we’re not careful. This pressure can result from strain on family relationships or people feeling they need to buy expensive gifts when they are on tight budgets. Add alcohol, and there can be potential for children to get hurt.

“Stress can be minimised with a little forward planning. For example, we suggest people plan who they’re going to spend Christmas Day with and where. This is particularly important where parents have re-partnered. It’s preferable that children are not placed in a situation where they’re trying to please everyone.”

Other suggestions for reducing Christmas stress include:
 Sharing the work so that one person doesn’t do all the cooking and cleaning.
 Making appropriate childcare arrangements during the holidays.
 Avoiding taking children to parties where there is alcohol or, where this is unavoidable, ensuring children are closely monitored by a responsible adult.

“The main thing is to always put the safety of children first,” says Jackie Brown. “If you need support for looking after children ask family and friends, call community agencies or, if children are at risk, call Child, Youth and Family.”

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