The holidays can be a fantastic time full of fun and laughter; however, for kids who experience anxiety, the holidays can pose many challenges. The loss of routine, increased unfamiliar social environments, and pressure to sit on a bearded stranger’s lap at the mall can really amp up the stress. In addition, the holidays can load extra stress onto parents, which can often trickle down and affect the level of anxiety felt by sensitive kids.
Anxiety in kids can look different than anxiety in adults. Below are some signs to watch for that may indicate your child is struggling to find their holiday cheer:
· Behavioural outbursts or crying
· Desire to isolate
· Head aches and/or Tummy aches
Fear not! The impending holiday season doesn’t have to throw your family into an anxious whirlwind. Use the simple tips and tricks below to help maintain a low stress family unit this December:
· Try to maintain a regular bed time, healthy eating habits and get daily exercise
· Provide your kids with information on daily events ahead of time with a family calendar
· Schedule in relaxation and downtime amidst all the holiday chaos and socializing
· Engage in relaxation techniques with your kids
· Introduce Santa slowly and as a friendly character and don’t force your child to sit on Santa’s lap if they’re feeling opposed to the idea… you can always get the picture next year
· Remember anxiety is contagious – your kids will pick up on your stress and it may increase their own – focus on strategies to manage your own anxiety
Have a wonderful holiday season!