As the saying goes, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. We partake in plenty of eating and giving, and we receive more time to reconnect with our loved ones, too. While these are excellent ways to celebrate the holidays, all this action can exhaust your kids. Plus, if you’re a parent to children with special needs, you likely need to be extra cautious about the overstimulation that results from everything from décor and lights to increased interactions with extended family members. That’s why we wanted to share a few of what we believe are the easiest ways to relieve your kids’ holiday stress. When you can more easily recognize the things that will diffuse your children’s worries, your family can really enjoy the season from the start. Additionally, although there are numerous methods for reducing your kids’ holiday stress, we hope our suggestions can help you and your family during this busy and festive time of year.
Create New Traditions Together
Some families don’t have holiday traditions, while others hold onto traditions that they don’t even like—think itchy sweaters, intense decorations, and sitting for way too long to capture the “perfect” family photo. If your family falls into one of these two groups, consider dedicating some time to exploring activities that everyone will enjoy. For example, bake holiday treats together, or gather everyone to embark on a brisk walk around the neighborhood to check out the neighbors’ decorations. Crafts are also huge during this time of year, and children can learn numerous skills from crafting.
Refrain From Tight Schedules
Naturally, we want to pack in time to catch up with relatives during this time of year. However, if you forget to add some downtime in between, your children might feel some pressure. Perhaps your children are meeting some of these people for the very first time, so they may not feel comfortable initiating and holding conversations.
Put yourself in their shoes, and consider that these interactions may emotionally and mentally drain them. First, prepare your children as much as possible for chats with the rest of your folks. Emphasize that they can remove themselves from these situations if they seek a calmer environment at that time. Additionally, make sure to support your kids after they engage in conversations. After all, socializing with distant relatives is a huge step for many children! Further, space out each day’s activities—this way, you can allow for some much-needed quiet time for your kids.
Remain as Calm as You Can
During the holidays, we often overextend ourselves, and while we may believe our kids won’t pick up on our worries, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, their anxious feelings can stem from us, especially as we do our best to plan everything in advance.
Yes, we can strive to create the “perfect” holiday memories with our families, but ultimately, we’re going to feel the most joy when we’re simply present with each other. If things don’t end up going according to plan, don’t panic. Take a deep breath, and try to maintain a calm energy. Appreciate the moments for what they are—pockets of peace with the ones you love.