Holidays and Stress in Children

Happy Thanksgiving!! – Merry Christmas!!!

So why isn’t everyone having a good time as the holidays arrive? Because this is a time when parents are feeling stress – so much to do, so much money being spent, the arrival of relatives, rich food, an increased number of activities and all the other energy drainers that make parents irritable, out of sorts and frustrated.

These are the same stressors that can affect children. Seeing their parents feeling stressed can make children become stressed too. Very young children sense the stress in their caregivers and they react because they do not understand what is going on. Older children see and interpret the stress as their fault; that they have done something wrong and they are going to get punished for it.

Balancing the holidays with the need to carry on regular activities of work, school, church, Team sports, caring for older relatives, not to mention cooking, cleaning, washing and all the other chores is a very hard thing to do, but it can be done with a little planning.

Ways to Reduce Stress for your Child and Family

  1. Exercise daily – just some regular movement i.e. dance to a song on the radio, take the stairs
  2. Eat vegetables, protein, drink milk, avoid fatty foods that slow you down
  3. Get enough rest – children need the 8-10 hours per night and adults can use a power nap
  4. Set realistic expectations for the holidays, reduce the number of activities the family will commit to, don’t over-promise your time or money and take time to smell the turkey and the peppermint candy. Happy Holidays!