Oh, the holidays! What a jolly time of year! So much excitement and celebration!
For many people, the holidays can feel like an emotional roller coaster. Depending on one’s expectations and prior experiences, any activity associated with the holidays can bring highs or lows. Many factors can influence an individual’s reactions, thoughts, and feelings during this special time of year.
For kids, everything is amplified by about 1,000%! I know that my boys get to the point where they are bursting at the seams with holiday glee and then crashing to the floor in tears and exhaustion. Anticipation builds to a crescendo and I often think, “How the heck are any of us going to survive this holiday season?”
And yet, somehow we always manage to get through the holidays without complete breakdowns. I think that is the #1 thing to remember about the holidays: We all find a way to cope with holiday stress and creep to the other side, even if we are dragging a bit of loose tinsel or crushed candy cane pieces along the way.
Throughout my fourteen years of motherhood through the holidays, I have found these eight factors to play a key role in holiday stress management. As always, customize for your family and please share your ideas in the comments section.
Eight Ways To Help Your Kids Overcome Holiday Stress
The holiday season brings with it so many yummy sweets and treats! Snacks and meals are often laden with sugar and fats. Too much of a good (or bad) thing, however, is not so good. As my PopPop warns, “All things in moderation”.
Use this time of year to help your kids learn about being selective in their food choices. Sure, they can still have special treats like Christmas cookies and other traditional sweets. Talk with your kids about portion control and balancing meals. Kids.gov shares this informative article for eating healthy during the holidays.
Depending on where you live, the weather can start to get cold during the holidays. Don’t let the cold weather be an excuse for not getting outside and playing in the crisp air! Take a nature walk, head to the local playground (probably a lot less crowded!), or play in your own yard. Bundle up and reap the benefits of exercise fun with your kids. Great distraction from all the holiday stress!
Oh boy! The holidays can wreak havoc on everyone’s sleep schedule, can’t it? All that excitement can make it hard to close your eyes and dream of sugar plum fairies. Little ones (and even teens!) frequently nod off for a nap in the car as you dash about running errands and dropping off gifts. Those little naps can ruin any chance for a regular bedtime.
The Sleep Foundation provides a helpful chart with recommendations on how much sleep our kids (babies to teens) require. Sleep For Kids has information directed towards kids to teach them the importance of sleep.
You know your kids best. Determine how many hours of sleep they need and work together to try to make it happen. Blast Christmas carols in the car to keep everyone awake. Bring along fun activity book,s like Christmas Doodles and 1001 Things To Spot At Christmas to keep little hands busy.
Essential oils are said to be helpful in calming kids down for bedtime. Marcy of Ben and Me shares how she uses this lavender and magnesium spray for relaxation and sleep aid.
Use all that holiday music to your advantage! Play upbeat tunes and melodies to keep your kids awake when you need it. Go for softer and slower holiday songs (like It Came Upon A Midnight Clear or Silent Night) to help calm your children before bedtime (or anytime they need to slow down!)
Funnel some of your kids’ energy and enthusiasm into holiday crafts. Use these crafts for gifts or decor. Save some special treasures to enjoy throughout the years. When you provide your child with a project or activity, it gives them a focus and purpose, thereby decreasing whines, wails, and woes. These Pinterest boards are full of fun ways for holiday craft fun: Fun Fast Frugal Crafts, Gift Ideas, and Christmas.
My boys love countdown chains for pretty much anything! Holiday countdown chains help preserve my sanity and from being asked one million times, “How many days ’til Christmas?”. We simply take a few colors of construction paper that are usually relevant to that holiday (my boys like to be creative!). Cut the paper into about one inch strips. Staple ends together and insert another strip of paper into hole. Staple that strip and repeat. The boys label each strip with a number to count the days (or hours).
Cornerstone Confessions shares this awesome Easy and Fun Countdown to CHRISTmas Printable. I love these ideas!
A piece of paper and pencil (or anything that your child likes to use for writing like a keyboard) can be your best friends during the holidays! Encourage your child to keep a daily journal or log of their thoughts, feelings, and ideas this holiday season. Younger kids can draw or have older siblings help. Older children can get out all of their wishes and concerns. Writing activities are a wonderful way for your kids to learn about emotions. Fantastic opportunity for self-expression and coping with holiday stress!
Distract your kids from the holiday whirlwind with volunteering. Many local organizations and churches need extra help during the holidays. Teach your kids invaluable lessons like giving, patience, and understanding as you keep the true meaning of the holidays alive.
I truly hope that these holiday stress relief tips and suggestions bless your family.
Please share what you do to help your kids reduce holiday stress!