The holidays are supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year,” yet for many people they might as well be known as “the most stressful time of the year.” We often think of stress as something that only affects adults, but it can play a significant role in the lives of children as well, especially around the holidays.
There are a lot of changes to children’s routines during the holidays, from visits from unfamiliar relatives to traveling, from an influx of sweets to over-scheduled days and late bedtimes. All of these things can take a toll on the wee ones.
Rather than accept that tears, tantrums and troubles (which are all normal child reactions to stress) are a necessary evil of the holidays, you can follow some tips to keep your kids (and yourself) feeling a bit more carefree. I can’t guarantee there won’t be any tears or tantrums, but it will be less likely to be from stress and more likely to be your typical childhood tears and tantrums.
10 Ways to Reduce Kids’ Stress has some helpful tips such as:
- Stick with the routine as much as possible. Keep stressful holiday shopping and eating out to a minimum; start preparing for Christmas early to avoid holiday anxiety.
- Talk to your children about traditions and spirituality. If you believe in Christ, focus on the real meaning of Christmas – and trusting God. If you have traditions, explain why they’ve stayed in your family.
- Bring a favorite blanket or stuffed animal if you’re staying with family over the holidays. A bit of home will reduce your child’s holiday anxiety.
Another tip they add that I think is really important (and often difficult to do) is: