Tips for Handling Holiday Stress

kids baking  e
Skitterphoto / Pixabay

Christmas is a joyous, and stressful, time of year! Not only are the adults stressed, but kids can get stressed as well!

Christmas is busy, loud and full of fun! Routines will change and activities added to take in all the festive sights. We all need a break from the regular routine while also avoiding a rough transition back into routine once the holiday season is over. We have some tips to help you and your family with the festive season.

  • It’s okay to let your child stay up a little later than usual — but not too late. Limit TV and video games and get out and engage in exercise or play!
  • Try to avoid sleeping in more than an hour or so past their usual morning schedule.
  • Many children are frustrated by having limited control over their environment, so include them in the planning for the upcoming holiday festivities! Make a calendar together with all the things you plan to do as a family such as Christmas parade, tree lighting, shopping, etc. Sometimes simple is better; don’t try to pack each day with something!
  • If you are planning on taking special holiday photos, preparation is the key to success. Dress rehearsals are a must, so there isn’t a last-minute scramble. You might consider visiting the venue prior to the photo shoot to help ease any anxiety or fears.
  • Then, photos with Santa Claus. Remember that your child may be freaked out by the jolly old man in red. They may not yet understand who he is. So, take it easy and not pressure the little ones into sitting with Santa. There are free Santa workshops (only require a food bank donation) and the kids are not pressured into sitting on Santa’s knee and they have crafts and other fun activities to partake in as well! Sometimes, these places are quieter and more suitable for younger children or children with special needs (anxiety, autism, etc.)
  • Family meal time is important for reconnecting with each other but during Christmas season it’s even more important. It’s a time to unwind at the end of the day and reconnect with each other.
  • Family meal time doesn’t include sitting down at your family’s favorite fast food restaurant as your own your way to rush to the mall to do more Christmas shopping. Consider having everyone help with menu planning during the festive season!
  • Help children to learn the real meaning of Christmas and that it’s not all about getting, but giving. Our children can become stressed just seeing all the commercials and ads telling them they MUST have a certain item to be “okay”. Find ways with your children that your family can give back!
  • Hang onto your family traditions or make a new one!
  • Find time this Christmas season to relax with your family. Enjoy family game night, watching Christmas classic shows and just being together.
  • For parents, make a sensible budget for presents and stay within it. Money stress is the worst at this time of year and affects everyone! A great idea for gift giving for your kids: something they need, something they want, something to wear and something to read! Plus a Santa gift! And bonus points if you make the gift as it will mean more!

Enjoy the festive season!

The Calgary NW ECD Coalitions consist of three coalitions who have joined forces with parents, community members, organizations and professionals, who are all working together to better the lives of young children and their families. We work hard to support five important developmental areas for children – Social Competence, Emotional Maturity, Language & Thinking Skills, Physical Health & Well-being, and Communication Skills & General Knowledge. We are always looking for interested parties to join our coalitions.

If you are passionate about children and their future, and would like more information about the Calgary NW ECD Coalitions, or if you have any questions, please email us at: [email protected].