Holiday stress can affect kids

By Mina Radman • Published: December 19th, 2012
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

The holidays are supposed to be a joyous time, but for some people, the family gatherings, events and frequent disruptions in daily routines can be stressful.

If you’re one of those people who are easily stressed out during the holiday season, be careful who is around when you’re stressed, especially if you have children. According to a 2010 American Psychological Association study, children pick up on their parents’ stresses. The study reported that 47 percent of tweens and 33 percent of teens felt stressed or sad when their parents were upset.

So how do you keep the festive air in your house and keep your kids happy during the holiday season?

Start by sticking to their regular routine. It may sound counterintuitive to a child, but constantly staying up past bedtime, eating sugary holiday cookies and going on spontaneous holiday shopping trips can stress little ones out. Sticking to their regular schedule will add normalcy during the hectic season.

Also, keep to your family traditions. If you don’t have any, start some. Having a few traditions that are repeated year after year brings joy to the holidays.

Another tip: Don’t set the bar too high. When asking your kids to make their Christmas or Hanukkah gift lists, let them know they may not receive everything they ask for. If you can’t get your hands on that latest Furby, don’t get upset. The holidays aren’t about the gifts, after all.

Plan some quiet time. Whether it’s sitting at home watching a movie or reading a book, have some down time to relax.

The hustle and bustle can be part of the fun of the holidays, but if you notice you or your kids getting overly emotional and stressed, take a step back. After all, the holidays are about the memories you make with those you love, not all the crazy things you do.