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De-Stressing Our Children This Holiday Season

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De-Stressing Our Children This Holiday Season

When we think of the holiday season, weconjure up images of beautifully wrappedpresents, out-of-town relatives, and delicious food. Yet, even though the holidayseason can be filled with joy and abundance, this time of year can also bequite stressful for adults and children.

When we think of the holiday season, we conjure up images of beautifully wrapped presents, out-of-town relatives, and delicious food. Yet, even though the holiday season can be filled with joy and abundance, this time of year can also be quite stressful for adults and children.

Situations such as financial strains at home, being in a divorced family, and being pulled from a regular schedule can often make a child's environment feel more chaotic than usual. Children are intuitive and sensitive by nature and tend to internalize stress that may be occurring at home during the holiday season.

It is very difficult to predict what will stress a child and what will not. What may seem like a minor event to an adult, such as not being invited to a particular party or fighting with a sibling, may seem catastrophic to a child. Stressful feelings and situations often manifest themselves differently in children than in adults. The key is to watch for significant changes in behaviour such as being extremely withdrawn, acting out, or refusing to participate in events they normally enjoy.

Regardless of their age, give your children special time with you around the holiday season. When children feel safe and attended to, they are much more likely to open up about their thoughts and feelings. Leave the laundry, ignore your emails, and devote a specific amount of time just for your kids. In addition, try practising the following "stress busting" tips to help your children enjoy every aspect of the holidays.

  • Encourage your children to have a creative outlet for their emotions. Arts and crafts such as painting, drawing, and modelling clay can help them express their feelings and let off a bit of steam.

  • Engage in a family activity that involves exercise. Community centres are great options for indoor swimming, basketball, soccer, or racquet sports. There is nothing like breaking a sweat to take children's minds off their problems.

  • Teach them the ancient art of yoga to develop proper coping skills. Home videos especially designed for kids are now available.

  • Bring laughter into your home. Rent funny movies, play board games, or tell jokes. Never underestimate the healing potential of laughter.

  • If your children are old enough, encourage them to keep a diary or journal to record their feelings. Often, writing things down on paper helps to ease stressful feelings.

  • Give them hugs, hugs, and more hugs. Children want to know that they are always loved and supported.

You know your offspring best. Some children are "water off a duck's back" kids and are more resilient to changes in schedule and family situations. Other children are more sensitive and require additional consideration, love, and affection. Pay attention to your child's emotional needs during the holiday season and ensure a happy and healthy new year for all.

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