The holidays can be a happy time
of year for many people, as they gather with family and friends,
exchange gifts and celebrate traditions. But the changes in family
routines and extra demands on time can also cause some stress,
especially for children. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers some
tips to help your family enjoy the best of the holiday season:
the busy holiday time, try to keep household routines the same. Stick
to your child's usual sleep and mealtime schedules when you can, which
may reduce stress and help your family enjoy the holidays.
care of yourself, both mentally and physically. Children and
adolescents are affected by the emotional well-being of their parents
and caregivers. Coping with stress successfully can help children learn
how to handle stress better, too.
- Make a plan to focus
on one thing at a time. Try a few ideas to balance the hustle and bustle
of things like shopping, cooking, and family get-togethers during the
holidays: Stop and pay attention to what is happening at the moment,
focus your attention on one thing about it, and notice how you are
feeling at the time. Withhold immediate judgment, and instead be curious
about the experience.
- Give to others by making it an
annual holiday tradition to share your time and talents with people who
have less than you do. For example, if your child is old enough,
encourage him or her to join you in volunteering to serve a holiday meal
at your local food bank or shelter, or sing at a local nursing home.
Help your child write a letter to members of the armed forces stationed
abroad who can't be home with their own family during the holidays.
that many children and adults experience a sense of loss, sadness or
isolation during the holidays. It is important to be sensitive to these
feelings and ask for help for you, your children, family members or
friends if needed.
- Don't feel pressured to over-spend
on gifts. Consider making one or two gifts. Help your child make a gift
for a parent, grandparent, or other important adults and friends.
Chances are, those gifts will be the most treasured ones and will teach
your child many important lessons.
- Most important of
all, enjoy the holidays for what they are -- time to enjoy with your
family. So, be a family, do things together like sledding or playing
board games, and spend time visiting with relatives, neighbors and
These tips may be excerpted or printed in their entirety, with attribution to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
© 2017 - American Academy of Pediatrics