Regina Vogt-Purdon, LISW-S
The holiday season can be a time of increased stress for both children (and adults!) alike. It’s a time of high emotion for children because of changes in routine, time spent in large groups, and expectations for good behavior. Here are some tips for helping the children you love not only survive but thrive during the holiday season:
- Be realistic with your expectations of how your child should behave during this time of increased activity. For example, it is impractical to expect a 4- year-old to shop for 3 hours, attend a holiday party, and then attend a church service without a single tantrum. Listen to your child and strive for balance. If he or she is irritable, some down time at home is likely in order.
- Check in with your child about how he or she is feeling about upcoming family events, and come up with a game plan in advance. i.e. “I know you sometimes get nervous about seeing your cousin Tina because she has made fun of you in the past. How are you feeling about seeing her tomorrow? Let’s talk about how we can handle it if she upsets you.”
- Care for your own needs, both emotional and physical. Our children can feel when we’re depressed, anxious, or burnt out. Rely on your personal support systems (family and friends) and professional support systems (mental health counselors and medical professionals) for extra reinforcement, both physical and emotional. Consider checking Groupon or CincySavers.com for deals on a massage or facial for yourself!
- Get some sunshine! The weather can be cold and gloomy this time of year, but human beings need sunlight to regulate their mood. On days that aren’t too bitter cold, bundle yourself and the kids up, and play outside! Even just a half hour will make a huge difference.