The holidays are a fun and joyous time but also a very busy one, and holiday stress and anxiety in children can and does happen. Here’s how you can reduce stress and anxiety in your children during the holidays.
1. Set a calm example. The most important way parents can help ease anxiety in children during the holidays is by trying to keep things relaxed as much as possible. 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.
2. Set up conditions for good behavior. Avoid taking your child to places such as the mall or holiday gatherings when he is hungry or tired.
3. Remember the importance of routines. To minimize holiday stress in your kids, try to get routines back on track once an event or party is over.
4. Watch what she’s eating. Try packing healthy snacks when you have to go shopping or run other holiday errands and try to minimize the amount of sweet treats at home.
5. Get your child moving. Fresh air and exercise are essential for boosting mood and re-setting the spirit, which can alleviate holiday stress and anxiety in children.
6. Avoid overscheduling. As tempting as it may be to accept every invitation from friends and family, try to limit your holiday parties and activities so that you and your child are not overwhelmed.
7. Have your grade-schooler help you. Giving your child a task will not only boost her self-esteem, it’ll distract her and help prevent any holiday stress and anxiety.
8. Schedule some quiet time. 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.
9. Remind your child—and yourself—what the holidays are really all about. A great antidote for holiday stress and the bloated commercialism of the season is helping others, whether it’s by shoveling an elderly neighbor’s sidewalk or by wrapping presents for needy kids at your local church.