5 Tips for Parents to Help with Holiday Stress 

December 10, 2015

christmas-cookies-553457Here they are — our 5 favorite tips from around the web to help parents manage stress this holiday season:

  1. Pay close attention once per day.

“Parents find themselves scattered over the holidays. Sometimes we forget that children need our time more than ever when things become hectic. We can give the gift of attention every day, without paying a penny to a toy store. Parents will find joy in the way a child’s eyes light-up during the 15 to 30 minutes set aside to read together or play a simple board game. Those few minutes lay the foundation of connection to children, and show love more than any Lego set or teddy bear.”

> Read Dr. Kevin Arnold’s article “Tips for Holidays & Parenting: Letting Joy Win Over Stress” in Psychology Today.

  1. Remember your stress can become your children’s stress.

“It’s a stressful time for many people. And even though we love our kids and they are lots of fun, they often magnify that stress. Even worse, our stress can trickle down to them, turning a happy holiday into a Noel nightmare.”

> Get some great tips (and laughs!) from Washington Post OnParenting reporter Amy Joyce’s article “Tips to Get Your Kids Through the Holidays Graciously and Gratefully.”

  1. Take the focus off of gifts.

“We’ve always done three gifts per person for Christmas, and no more. Our kids know to expect this, which means they know there’s a finite amount to the spoils they can expect. Many other families do a “want, need, wear, read” tradition, and I dig that, too. Whatever the route you take, I find that setting—and then communicating about—a firm limit on quantity helps keep expectations realistic.”

> Check out The Art of Simple’s “How we help curb the ‘I want that!’s during the holidays” post.

  1. Don’t try to please everyone.

“Someone — a parent, grandparent or in-law –will be unhappy. But, as a rule, the children will not be — and it’s the little things that they will remember, like time spent playing a board game or teaching you to operate their toys.”

> Read this helpful Parenting Tips for the Holidays article on WebMD.

  1. Find support and take care of yourself.

“Negative memories of past seasons sometimes resurface during the holidays, often adding more stress…Surround yourself and your children with safe, supportive people. Being with others can provide strength and nurturing during a difficult time.”

> Get the Holiday Stress & Solutions for Parents Fact Sheet (in English and Spanish) from SCAN’s Parent Resource Center.

We hope you’ll share these tips and resources with parents in your community. We’d love to hear your favorite tips, too!

And don’t forget to check out the fantastic #25days25ways campaign from Prevention Child Abuse Virginia this month. They’re sharing daily reminders to help us stay focused on children and support prevention during the holiday season.