Holidays and family gatherings can be stressful, here are a few ideas to help make the time a little easier on everyone:
1. Take a break.
Decide on a ‘code word’ your child can use if he or she feels overwhelmed during holiday activities and needs a break. Assure your child if he or she uses the code word, you will respond right away. Giving children some control during activities that may be over stimulating for them will reduce anxiety.
2. Keep expectations reasonable.
We tend to have high expectations for the holidays and want them to be “perfect” family times. Don’t get frustrated if the occasions don’t go as planned.
If your child cannot handle a large family event on a certain day, plan something special just for your family and enjoy the time alone.
4. Make lists.
Getting the constant chatter and lists out of your head decreases stress and anxiety. Kids love making lists. Give them a clipboard or dry erase board. Help your child make a list of what they want to do for the holiday. It might be helping decorate or what to pack for traveling.
5. Make a “Go-Bag” for relaxation.
Work with your child to fill a bag or backpack with things that they enjoy and that help them relax and feel good. Bring it when you go on family outings, car rides or shopping.