7 Ways To Alleviate Stress At Christmas, For The Children

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Most of us know that as an adult, Christmas can be a very hectic and often stressful time for many reasons.

Buying presents is stressful enough without the added pressure of Christmas, not to mention cooking, cleaning, travelling, entertaining and general family gatherings. But it’s not just us adults who feel the pressure and stress during the holidays, children can too.

Claire McCarthy, MD, a faculty editor for Harvard Health Publications has compiled a list of 7 ways to reduce stress for children during the holiday season. Here I have summarized her findings:

  1. Manage your own stress, first and foremost.

Children can sense if you are stressed and that in turn affects them. Try to be self-aware; if you’re finding it hard to function yourself, chances are you’ll be no help to anyone else either so set aside some time “me time”. And if possible, try and get enough sleep yourself.

  1. Try to keep routines the same, especially when it comes to sleeping.

Eating and sleeping patterns are important to maintain during the holidays especially for the little ones. In terms of sleeping times, try your best to keep it as normal and regular as any other day. A lot is happening over the holidays so it is tempting to let the kids stay up late, but as we all know, a tired child can be a cranky child. It’s also important to have regular mealtimes, together as a family if possible.

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  1. Manage the expectations.

Straight up, let your children know what they can and can’t expect, after all it’s not always possible for Santa Claus to get exactly what a child wants. It’s also not always feasible for a parent to be entertaining their children 24/7. Try some planning, sit down together and through what everyone would like to do and perhaps come to some sort of arrangement.

  1. Keep the children active.

We all like to slouch in front of the TV watching all the Christmas movies and children these days are glued to games consoles or technology in general. Try and break that habit, go out together, go for a walk, look at the Christmas lights around the neighborhood, whatever options are available to you try and take advantage of them.

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  1. Spend time together.

Spending time together is key at Christmas. There are so many different things families can do together, the list is endless. Have a movie night to unwind or try some fun interactive activities like board games or old time favorite charades.

  1. If you don’t already have holiday traditions, start some now.

Create things you and your family can do together every year that are fun and mean something to you. This is where you can make sure that your holiday rituals are something you want to do as opposed to the hundred and one things you have to do at Christmas.

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  1. Pick something to do together that helps others.

Hundreds of charities look for help every year, if you can get involved, do it. There are always clothes, food and toy drives going on, so root through some of your old things to donate. Christmas is about love and spreading joy after all, so what better way to teach children about kindness and giving by getting them participating in something meaningful.

You can check out Dr. McCarthy’s full article here and I hope it helps to alleviate some of that stress from your lives.  : https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/7-ways-prevent-holiday-stress-children-2017112812809


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