These tips for reducing stress at Christmas for kids will help ensure a positive experience for the whole family. Stressed children at Christmas can not only ruin the holidays for them – it can affect the whole family. Plus, the after effects of holiday stress can for weeks after after all the gifts are unwrapped and the holidays are over.
Before the tips, a quip:
“Remember your own childhood,” says Jane Campion. “That complete certainty you had, looking at grownups, that you would never be like that. It was a lonely feeling, but euphoric, too.”
When you’re reducing stress and anxiety at Christmas for kids, remember what it’s like to be a kid at Christmas! It’s thrilling and maybe even overwhelming – which is why kids get so crazy over the holidays. For more information, read The Handbook for Helping Kids With Anxiety and Stress. And, for tips on reducing Christmas stress, read on…
How to Reduce Stress at Christmas for Kids
Remember – if you as parents are stressed at Christmas, your children will pick up those feelings of anxiety! These tips for reducing holiday stress will help both parents and children recognize holiday anxiety and cope with overwhelming excitement.
Recognizing Holiday Stress in Kids
The first step is to recognize the signs of anxiety in kids. Signs include:
- Tears for seemingly minor reasons.
- Nervous behaviors such as nail biting and hair twirling.
- Physical complaints, such as stomachaches, headaches, fatigue, diarrhea, etc.
- Regression to younger behaviors: bed wetting, eating with hands.
- Withdrawal from school friends or siblings.
- Any behavior that your child doesn’t normally do could be a sign of Christmas anxiety.
10 Ways to Reduce Stress at Christmas for Kids
1. Take your kids out of the spotlight during Christmas plays or performances at relatives’ homes – especially if they’re introverts or shy. Reducing stress and anxiety at Christmas involves knowing their personalities and limits. Even if they’re extroverts who love the spotlight, too much attention can completely wire them up!
2. Combine holiday parties and get-togethers to reduce the time you spend away from home, which will reduce stress and anxiety at Christmas. For instance, invite your aunt and uncle to a kids’ Christmas party, so you can visit with them while your child does his thing.
3. Stick with the routine as much as possible. Keep stressful holiday shopping and eating out to a minimum, and start preparing for Christmas early to avoid holiday anxiety. Another holiday tip is to try to keep your kids’ routines as set as possible to reduce stress and anxiety at Christmas.
4. Find out what calms your children down. Do they relax with music, reading, spending time with you, or spending time alone? A great way to reduce stress and anxiety at Christmas is to give them time and space to do what they love.
5. Make sure your children eat nutritious foods, drink lots of water, and get exercise. Reducing stress at Christmas is similar to minimizing your own holiday anxiety – and that includes eating regular, healthy meals. This holiday tip will also keep you healthy.
6. Talk to your children about traditions and spirituality. If you believe in Jesus Christ, focus on the real meaning of Christmas – and trusting God. If you have other spiritual traditions, explain how they started and why they’ve stayed in your family.
7. Bring a favorite blanket or stuffed animal if you’re staying with family over the holidays. A bit of home will reduce your child’s anxiety….reducing stress and anxiety at Christmas can be include familiar foods, clothes, or books.
8. Cope with your own holiday stress. A holiday tip is to reduce your own stress, because the less anxious you feel, the more relaxed your children will be. Focus on a simple, relaxing, people-oriented Christmas (and forget about being perfect!).
9. Volunteer at a food bank, kids’ hospital or community centre. Find ways to give to your community; volunteering often relieves feelings of holiday anxiety for both kids and adults. To reduce stress and anxiety at Christmas, look outward, not inward.
10. Lighten the mood with funny movies, toboggan afternoons and cozy chats with hot chocolate. Spend time together, either doing holiday crafts or just walking in the snow. Talk about how you’re feeling about the holidays – and the best and worst parts. Sometimes, simply being together is an effective way to reduce stress.
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Do you have any tips for reducing stress at Christmas for kids? I welcome your comments below…