The holidays can be a tough time for anxious kids. Anytime there is something new or a change in routine, anxious kids are known to spin. Add to that: Elf on the Shelf, holiday wish lists, toy advertisements on television, advent calendars, two weeks off from school, and a chance of snow and things can spiral down pretty quickly. Although there’s no real way to shield kids from all the hype, here are a few ways that parents can help:
1. Delay putting up decorations – Even though you’ve put up the tree the day after Thanksgiving for the last 20 years, it might be a good time to make some changes. When kids see visual reminders of the holiday season, they get hyped up even if it is a month before the holiday actually occurs.
2. Keep bedtime routines the same – Sleep is imperative this time of year. If kids go to bed around the same time each night they will not only feel better but will be able to control impulses better.
3. Add structure during days off from school – Make a daily schedule of activities and events. Write them down and include your kids in the decision. Schedule a time for play dates and sledding. A time for hot chocolate and a movie. Anxious kids always do better if they know what to expect.
4. Take care of yourself – If you’re stressed out, your kids will sense it. The holidays create stress for everyone but making time to relax and enjoy the simple moments is often the best way to help an anxious child.