Children crave consistency, stability and routine. So how do you help them cope through the holidays with all the hustle and bustle? The following tips will help reduce stress for young children, enabling the entire family have a happier holiday season:
- Stay with your routine as much as possible.
- Give warnings of transitions.
- Spend at least 15 minutes a day of one-on-one focused attention on a child before guiding them into independent play. Sometimes love is spelled t-i-m-e.
- Don't over schedule: Leave time for naps and rest. Be realistic about what your family can do.
- Communicate. Sometimes children feel frustrated but they don't have the words to tell you. Be aware of visual clues and give your child words to use: "I'm tired. I'm hungry. I need to jump." Listen to them and answer their many questions.
- Toys: Take their favorite toys with them through transitions or time away from home.
- Music: Calming music helps children relax. Dancing to fast music helps them release stored up energy.
- Laughter: Act goofy and find humor in situations, or start a tickle "fight."
- Massages: Rub your child's back or feet while talking soothingly to them or listening to calming music.
- Deep Breathing: Say: "Breath in. Hold it. Breath out." Repeat this several times. While your child is holding their breath, say things like: "I am relaxed. I feel good. I am happy. Everything is good."
- Movement: Physical activity is one of the simplest and most effective ways to reduce stress and ensure that your child gets a good night's sleep. Play outside when possible. Or roll around on the floor and "roughhouse" or play tag or "Almost Gotcha."
- Blow bubbles or blow up a balloon and toss it around. Offer a squeeze ball to tighten and relax muscles. Tell them to squeeze the ball hard, then drop it - or flex muscles, then relax them.
- Stay on a healthy, familiar diet.
- Bedtime ritual: Share books and cuddle time before they go to sleep. Have your child tell you what they did today. Help them express their "walk through the day" remembering the positive, happy things they did.
- Gratitude Meditation: Help your child express gratitude for all the things they have such as family, home, food, friends, toys, books.
|I need a break!|
It is important to be consistent and have realistic behavior expectations. Cranky kids may need more rest and food - or less stimulation. Stay calm through the storms being a good example of handling stress well. Often tell your children you love them and catch them being good.
- The Key to Surviving a Road Trip with Little Kids (Mommy with Selective Memory)
- Prevent Inappropriate Behavior (series on discipline)
- Caught Being Good
Susan Case is a former Kindergarten and Sp.Ed. teacher blogging at Kindergarten & Preschool for Parents & Teachers. She is the author of Kindergarten: Tattle-Tales, Tools, Tactics, Triumphs and Tasty Treats for Teachers and Parents. She and Mommy with Selective Memory wrote The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble and Motivated to Learn. Both have been number 1 bestsellers on Amazon and make helpful gifts for parents and teachers.
You can visit Susan’s blog Kindergarten & Preschool for Parents & Teachers and also find her on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest!