Holiday Greetings

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  • It is tempting to go to events, visit friends and go shopping – but, be careful not to over schedule your family. Keeping the holidays simple is not easy, but it is one of the most important things a parent can do to help ensure happy holidays with children.

  • Having naps, meals, and bedtime at the same time as usual will help your children handle the holiday activities. Children begin to act out, may be clingy, or cry more when their normal routines get out of whack. They also may seem to be more irritable and not behave the same way as usual. That is because younger children haven’t developed the emotional and social skills needed to deal with a lot of change.

  • When parents are busy and not spending the usual amount of time with the family it can cause kids to act out in stress. Spend individual time with each child to help him feel secure. That time should be given with undivided attention. Take the time to hug, hold, and talk to each child, even if it’s only for a few minutes. It will make a difference.

  • Holidays bring extra stress to parents – whether money, the excitement of seeing family and friends or trying to please everyone. When your mood changes, children may worry – which causes them to act differently. Take time to ease your own stress – this will help your child as well.

  • Explain to children what will happen for the holiday so there are no surprises. If they are old enough to understand, talk about the gift giving at a family gathering. A child’s expectations may be totally different from what will actually happen. Talk about giving and receiving gifts. Let them know that even though they may not get what they want, it’s not about what they receive, but the thought that counts. This is a hard concept for children to understand, so it’s important for parents to explain.

  • Talk to your children about family traditions and spirituality. If the family has religious traditions, focus on those. If there are other traditions the family does each year, explain why those traditions are in place. Share your experience as a young child when you learned about your family traditions. Children love stories!

  • Make holiday plans ahead of time to help avoid holiday anxiety. Now might be a good time to jot down holiday plans and dates on the calendar. Be sure to leave some down time in the schedule, though, to allow time to prepare for events, spend time with the children, and relax.

  • Keep the mood light and remember to take time to laugh and help everyone enjoy the holidays.  Source: Gail Brand, University of Nebraska Lincoln Family Extension Educator.