I’ll never forget it. It was Christmas Day, 2005. I was in Lafayette, Louisiana visiting my parents with my kids, a 3-year-old and an 11-month-old. And that’s when it happened.
Have You Ever Suffered From Post Traumatic Holiday Disorder?
How to lower kids’ holiday stress
No, they’re not cooking or balancing budgets, but the busy holiday season can be exhausting for children, too. Here’s some advice from pediatricians: Emphasize the simple. Focus on the importance of time with family and friends, spirituality and special rituals at home — not on gifts, shopping, parades and parties.
Keep them up on plans. Talk to kids in advance about events and trips on the horizon so they can mentally prepare.
Volunteer. Giving back at a church, food bank or other charitable organization is almost always a feel-good, low-stress activity.
Just say no. Don’t feel pressure to haul your kids to every party you’re invited to. The same goes for travel — it’s usually best to avoid long road trips to see every extended family member.
Tone down the hype. Limit television specials and commercials, which tend to create unrealistic expectations about the holidays.
Keep up a routine. Stick with your family’s regular schedule of meals, playtime, naps and bedtimes as much as possible. If you travel, bring along favorite games, stuffed animals or blankets from home.
Help them choose gifts. Kids often want to give presents for family members and close friends but may feel overwhelmed. Offer ideas, talk about smart spending practices and help them create lists and handmade offerings such as crafts or baked goods.
Take breaks. If you see your kids beginning to lose their cool, slow down. Have a snack and encourage them to wind down with quiet time, music, a game or a funny movie.
Stay sane yourself. Kids pick up on their parents’ anxiety level. Make sure the whole family eats well, drinks lots of water and gets plenty of sleep.
How to lower kids’ holiday stress By Alison Johnson – Daily Press (Newport News, Va.)
(stock photo by muresan113)