5 ways to manage your family’s holiday stress

5 ways to manage your family’s holiday stress

It’s one of the world’s biggest ironies: How can a season that’s supposed to be filled with joy be so stressful? The hectic nature of the holidays can turn anyone into a Grinch.

But with careful planning and consideration, you can make it one to remember for your family. Here are five tips from SSM Health Child Psychologist Dr. Kathleen Hipke to help control stress and anxiety.

1. Set expectations

Creating the perfect holiday season is often strived for, but rarely achieved. Sitting down and taking a closer look at what events/activities are important can help you decide on a schedule. Don’t forget to get input from the kids and invite them to be a part of the planning process. If everyone approves of your family plans, there’s less of a chance that someone will feel let down.

2. Make time for rest

It’s easy to get caught up in the many opportunities of the season. From Christmas concerts to family gatherings, the schedule can fill up fast. Staying busy can help us physically and mentally, but time needs to also be set aside to recoup so everyone doesn’t get run down.

What can parents and caregivers do to help kids when schedules and routines are changing around the holidays? #MentalHealthMonday #TimeForKids #TimeToTalk pic.twitter.com/uMIMIoiN53

— SSM Health Wisconsin (@ssmhealthwi) December 10, 2018

3. Don’t forget your diet

We all enjoy celebratory foods over the holidays and eating is a wonderful way to come together as family and keep traditions alive. At the same time, it’s important to remember how food can make our bodies feel. Sweet treats will lead to blood sugar crashes, which can make kids cranky and fatigued. This is bound to lead to more behavioral struggles or conflicts. Try to make sure everyone is mixing in enough protein each day to keep them energized.

4. Keep moving

We do a lot of sitting around during the holiday season. Not only are we visiting family and friends, but some people are just trying to avoid colder temperatures outside. Regardless of the weather, kids need opportunities to burn off energy. If able to do so, children’s moods will be boosted by physical activity and they will be less likely to feel lethargic or sluggish.

5. Take care of yourself

As a parent or caregiver, your kids look up to you for guidance. How can you offer it if you’re not well? Parents often forget about themselves during the season of giving. So this year, make sure to pay attention to your own needs and feelings – everyone stands to reap the benefits.

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