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Avoiding Holiday Stress

December 9th, 2010 - Category: Family Time

If holiday time is stressful for you as a parent, then it is possible that some of that stress is rubbing off on your children. Here are some ways to keep your children from burning out during the craziness of the season.

  • Don’t make your children feel that they have to be in the spotlight at performances or at relatives’ houses. Just let them be themselves and try not to show them off.
  • Try not to do too much in one day or one weekend. There are so many parties and events to attend at this time of year. Try to be choosy about which ones are really important to attend. Try to avoid visiting more than one party or event in a day.
  • Try to keep bedtime and eating schedules as consistent as possible. Allow them time to stick to their chore charts and their routines. This isn’t always possible, but the more routine the less stress, especially for little ones still requiring naps.
  • Try to keep them loaded with healthy snacks. It is easy at this time of year to load kids down with sweets and treats, but just as we hit a wall when all we eat is junk, overindulgence will lead to many more meltdowns.
  • Help them figure out their best relaxation technique. When it is time to settle down after a busy, high-energy stimulated day, figure out if music or stories work best to get them the rest they need.
  • Spend some time explaining your traditions – if you have a spiritual faith explain how your religion is part of the season. Or perhaps you have family traditions that have been passed down through the generations – explain to your children why these are important to you. It helps children to know why they do certain things at this time of year.
  • Find some time for fun with just your immediate family. Perhaps you could bake cookies, watch a holiday movie or read some Christmas stories.

There are some stresses that effect parents more than children – one of the big ones being the stress of added expenses. The first thing we have to do is let go of perfection. Try to see the holiday from your children’s eyes. Most of the time they are not as concerned with the things we think they “have to have.” Perhaps during this time you can give your children a few additional chores to add to their job chart in order to help you prepare for extra guests or celebrations. Express to them that their extra help will make the holiday more special for all involved. All the extra work doesn’t have to be on your shoulders.
Happy Holidays!

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