Happy Holidays from the TherapyWorks Team! We hope you are enjoying the time off with loved ones and are stocking up on self care!
Here are some tips for those of us with children out of school on a holiday break. We love the extra time with our children, but it can have it’s challenges. Here’s to having a relaxing, restful and FUN break with your family!
- Many children rely on daily routines, and often routines go out the window at holiday time. Keeping some degree of a regular schedule around meal times and especially bedtime help keep the body clock more stable.
- Some children sometimes struggle when there isn’t the structure that helps them know what’s happening during the day. Preview a day’s activities. For young children, you can even draw pictures to show the day ahead.
- Holiday situations can be intense socially. Getting together with family and friends, attending parties, and having houseguests can all be very difficult for children who are shy. People expect children SHOULD be able to handle these situations – this is family after all! Plan what’s right for your child. If he has trouble with large groups, create small groups within the bigger ones – pull two cousins or Grandma and Grandpa aside. Come up with strategies for managing potential problem situations ahead of time. You figure out how to handle annoying people – show him how you do it.
- Some struggle with self-esteem when they compare themselves to peers. At holidays they may face extravagant praise over cousins getting awards, being accepted at colleges, etc. Make sure your child’s strengths are represented too: he may have lots of friends or have a special skill, even in video games! Give him a special role, like family photographer.
- Another similar challenge is when children are faced with relatives or peers whose families have greater assets – read bigger houses, presents, etc. Or for you – in-laws who have similar advantages. Don’t tell your kids not to have feelings. Accept their feelings, and point out the positives of the closeness of your family, their strengths and your values. It is about the people. There’s no good way to convince someone that a sweater is better than an X-box
- Excitement is great, but can be over-stimulating for some children. Be aware of the clues that say, “It’s enough” and have a graceful way for some private time. My 2-year-old granddaughter actually left her birthday party to take a short walk.
- We all pack for going out as if we were going to Mars or invading a foreign country. Include children in planning what they’d like to bring, whether a favorite toy or game or a snack. It teaches good executive functions and makes them feel involved. They may feel more satisfied playing with what they picked themselves.
- Take care of yourself! Holidays are often a hard time of year for parents. Make a few choices that make your lives easier and take some time for enjoyment. Too many of us “survive” the holidays and are running on empty by the end.
Source: Psychology Today