Adults know that the holidays are most likely going to include several stressors such as never enough time to get everything done, family gatherings, money woes, traffic and gift shopping.
Kids feel stress too during the holiday frenzy, but sometimes they don’t have enough life experiences to know how to handle it or what to call some of the overwhelming feelings they may have.
During the holidays, there are lots of fun activities and events going on, both at home and at school. And while that can be a good thing, the reality is that all that hustle and bustle means schedules are often out of whack, bedtimes get pushed back, and routines are disrupted.
As a result, it’s inevitable that kids may feel some degree of holiday stress.
There are ways you can help your child glide through the holidays with less stress. Number one is to be an example of what you want to child to be. So, being calm is not only going to benefit you, but your child as well. This requires mindfulness about what is actually going on around you, what expectations you have and what you are projecting. As with so many situations, the way parents handle an issue can set the tone for how their kids will behave. If you let holiday stress get to you, your kids will definitely pick up on it, and child anxiety is more likely to be a problem in your house. To minimize anxiety in children during the holidays, take steps to handle your own stress and anxiety.
Overstimulation, tiredness and hunger can cause children to stress-out. It’s hard even for grown-ups to deal with noise and lots of stimulation when they’re not feeling their best; kids get hungry more often and become tired more easily, and may understandably have a tough time being on their best behavior. They are more likely to experience holiday stress when they’re exhausted or hungry. Take healthy snacks with you and schedule breaks to sit, relax and re-group when visiting malls or holiday celebrations.
Children like routine. The holidays can disrupt routines that are comforting and reliable, causing kids to feel anxious. To minimize holiday stress in your kids, try to get routines back on track once an event or party is over. For instance, if a school holiday concert or a church gathering goes past your child’s bedtime, try to stick to quiet, calm activities the next day and get your child to bed on time the next night.
Let’s face it; we all overindulge during the holidays. Too much sugar and simple carbohydrates can play havoc with our moods and weight. Kids are particularly sensitive to these food interruptions. Whenever possible, offer healthy snacks, such as air-popped popcorn or apple slices with cheese and crackers and limit cookies and candy to after-snack treats.
One way for kids to beat stress is to get moving. Fresh air and exercise are essential for boosting mood and re-setting the spirit, which can alleviate holiday stress and anxiety in children. Make sure you schedule some time to get your child outside to run around and play.
If your child is old enough, ask him or her to join in with decorating and holiday tasks. If you have to shop, ask your child to help you look for an item at the store (fun stocking stuffers for cousins, for example). Giving your child a task will not only boost his or her self-esteem, it’ll help by offering a beneficial distraction.
Creating a little quiet time during the holidays is helpful to parents and kids alike. Find a quiet corner and read a book with your child or create holiday pictures for grandma and grandpa. Take a walk outside in nature, away from noise and crowds and obligations.
A great antidote for holiday stress and the bloated commercialism of the season is helping others, whether it’s by shoveling a neighbor’s sidewalk, volunteering or by wrapping presents for needy kids at your local church. The season of giving takes on more meaning when the giving is your time and love.
Story source: Katherine Lee, https://www.verywell.com/holiday-stress-and-anxiety-in-children-620516