The holiday season is meant to be the most wonderful time of the year, and it certainly can be. However, for many children (and adults), the holiday season also brings with it some stress. Routines are disrupted as you plan for visitors, stay up late preparing for parties, and get home late from holiday gatherings. How can you thwart this holiday stress and keep this season magical and wonderful for your little ones? Start by following these tips.
Stick With Routines As Much As Possible
As much as your child may complain when you insist they go to bed on time or brush their teeth first thing each morning, kids really thrive with routine. Maintaining their routine throughout the busy holiday season will help prevent stress. Send them to bed on time, even if this means leaving a party a little early or putting off a few planned holiday tasks until tomorrow.
Schedule Family Time
You’re probably busy wrapping presents, cleaning the house in preparation for guests, and so forth. As you rush about, your kids may start to feel a little distanced from you, which can lead to stress. Combat this problem by scheduling some quiet, laidback family activities throughout the holiday season. For example, you could dub Tuesday night “Movie Night” and watch a classic holiday film together. Or you could simply go for a walk around the neighborhood together, taking a complete break from the holiday chaos.
Have Kids Help You With Preparation
Instead of leaving your kids to entertain themselves while you complete your to-do list, invite them to help you. This way, they will feel more involved in the holiday preparation, rather than feeling like it’s something that’s disrupting their lives. Even little kids can help with tasks like putting bows on presents, putting sprinkles on cookies, and decorating the tree. Put on some holiday music, and make these prep tasks part of the fun!
Keep Your Own Stress Levels Under Control
Your children know you better than anyone else, and they can tell when you’re feeling stressed and anxious. By keeping your own stress under control, you can help them feel more settled, too. Keep your own holiday stress levels low by:
- Saying “no” to parties and activities you really don’t have time to attend
- Taking a little time out each day to read, take a warm bath, or otherwise care for your own needs
- Accepting help from friends and family members who offer to help you
Focus on Eating Healthy Foods
Sugary treats abound over the holidays, but eating too many can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes, which make kids cranky. You don’t have to forbid your children from touching holiday treats, but do practice moderation. Let them have one or two pieces of candy or cookies per day, and otherwise, provide plenty of healthy foods to munch on. Cheese and crackers, veggies and dip, and sliced fruit are all perfectly tasty and healthy party fare.
With the tips above, you can combat holiday stress and truly enjoy the holiday season. We wish all the best to you and yours.