Here are some tips to help you and your children lower holiday stress levels and have a more enjoyable holiday season.
- Even though the kids are on vacation and staying up late you can still put them on a bedtime schedule. Pick a reasonable time that does not cause you any stress. A whole household can become calm knowing that the children get ready for bed at 9:30 and lights out at 10:00. The kids will appreciate feeling well rested and you will appreciate time for yourself.
- Shopping with children is stressful for everyone. Try to do your adult shopping with just adults. Avoid taking your children when you need to go in and out of the car and different stores. Do not take them to stores that are not kid friendly. Do take your children shopping when you are going to one particular store and looking for a gift they will enjoy helping you find. Make sure the time you spend shopping is age appropriate. This will make the outing fun and lower anxiety levels for you and your child.
- Entertaining can cause chaos and stress for the host and their children. Try having smaller gatherings instead of one big blow out. Children are often overloaded and over stimulated in a party environment. Always give your children age appropriate assignments to help make the party or gathering a success. Pay attention to the children’s eating schedule. You may need to prepare them a small meal or healthy snack to hold them over.
- Traveling brings extra stressful situations for you and your children. Allow more time than usual for traveling. Children do not handle rushing in a calm, mature manner. Let them pack something special that makes them feel secure. Guiding your child to mother or father their doll or stuffed animal can eliminate fear and ease anxiety. Let them explain to their travel buddy exactly what they will be doing during the trip. This empowers the children and eases their own anxiety of not knowing what to expect. Example, have them explain how they will wait on a long line at the airport and they will go through a metal detector.
- Demonstrate relaxation techniques to your children. Sit and focus on your breathing. Tell your children what you are doing, encourage them to join you. Have a candle lit dinner with soft music. Take a minute to look at the flame before you start eating. Share how good it feels to be still for a moment during a busy day. Practice your affirmations in the car. Let your children hear you say, “I am calm, I am happy.” Help them create their own affirmations.
- Remember to laugh. Laughter is a known stress reducer and can help many situations. Laugh at yourself when you might normally become angry. Teach your children to laugh at their own mistakes. Make an effort to laugh with your child everyday and enjoy your holidays with stress free style.
Lori’s books and CDs are a great resource around the stressful holidays to teach kids (and their parents) how to slow down, relax and see things more clearly. Kids can relax and slow down learning the research-based technique of diaphragmatic breathing with the Sea Otters of Sea Otter Cove or relax and de-stress learning muscular relaxation with the Octopus in Angry Octopus. At bedtime kids, teens and their parents can listen to relaxation music with the line of music CDs in the Indigo Dreams Series… Kids Relaxation, Teen Relaxation and Rainforest Relaxation.
Happy Holidays from Stress Free Kids!