Hopefully you successfully made it through Halloween and everyone in your home has come down off their sugar high! Take a deep breath, because the season of holidays, school vacation days (weeks!), and family and friend gatherings is about to begin.
No matter what holiday traditions your family celebrates, there is a lot crammed into a few short months and while holidays can be a positive fun time, they can also be stressful for both you and your children. Whether you are hosting everyone for Thanksgiving, flying off to meet up with family, or simply bracing yourself for that long winter break with no school and unscheduled time on everyone’s hands, this time of year can pose a challenge to even the calmest individual.
How do we embrace this memorable time of year without running to hide under our beds with the dust bunnies?
Here are some helpful thoughts and tips:
•Treat yourself kindly – in doing so be a great role model for your child/children. Eat well, get sufficient sleep, exercise and don’t berate yourself if everything is not going perfectly. If you feel refreshed and ready to face the day, the odds are your children will pick up on it and follow suit.
•Whenever possible plan ahead and create a daily schedule for you and your children. Children thrive on schedules. If your child is particularly anxious knowing what to expect each day can help relieve some of that anxiety. You could discuss the next day’s plans prior to bedtime or over breakfast. Whenever appropriate, include your children in the planning process. Previewing travel plans and possibly creating social stories can be helpful for some children. How to Create a Social Story.
•Anticipate problem areas/times in the day. Brainstorm a solution in advance. Do long car rides make your child antsy? Plan a walk prior to getting in the car or let your relatives know that when you arrive you and your child are going to go for a quick walk around the block before settling behind a dinner table. Talk through areas of concern and create a contingency plan with your family. When applicable allow your children to express what would be helpful for them to be successful in the different circumstance they will face.
•Have fun. Enjoy yourself. Appreciate the little victories and quiet moments. Don’t belabor the negative ones. Holidays can come with so many expectations and “interesting” family dynamics. Allow yourself and your children the freedom to make mistakes and simply make some memorable experiences.
From all of us at the Portsmouth Neuropsychology Center, we wish you a happy, healthy and stress free holiday season!
We’d love to hear about some fun memories! We hope you share one with us!