The holiday season is about fun and enjoying family time together. But the constant hustle and bustle can be stressful for adults. Did you know it can be just as stressful for kids? Today we’ll talk about expert tips to help your child stay calm and mindful during the season so they can enjoy the holidays and make great memories that will last a lifetime.
To learn more about children and mindfulness, you can read Kelly Caleb’s popular Now Cow mindfulness books for children with your kids. They have a fun rhyming style and demonstrate what mindfulness is all about.
How do I know if my child is stressed?
The signs that your child is feeling stressed are pretty obvious. They include:
· Increased irritability or anger
· More crying, whing, or complaining
· sleep troubles or sleeping too much
· physician symptoms like headaches and stomachaches
· more or less eating than normal
· isolation and/or refusal to participate in activities
· regressive behavior such as bedwetting or thumb sucking
How can I help my child be more mindful during the holidays?
Whatever holiday you celebrate and whatever rituals you participate in, be sure to include your child to the extent that they are interested. The older your child, the more meaningfully they can participate. By sharing your beliefs and explaining why you celebrate at this time of year, your child can begin to appreciate and look forward to the traditions they will be a part of every year.
Be sure to stop as often as possible and experience the holidays with your child from their perspective. Maybe you are feeling the need to get all the decorations out before the guests arrive, but take a moment to appreciate the way your child stares in wonder at the lights on the tree or the candles on the menorah. Allow your kids to experience the holidays on their level and don’t wrap them up in the hectic busyness that you might be feeling.
Children appreciate routines, so as you add in visits with relatives you don’t always see, extra shopping trips, and longer car rides than usual, do your best to keep your child’s mealtimes, naptimes, and bedtimes at about the same time as usual. As much as possible, keep their rituals around these times the same as well. This will help your kids focus on the present moment rather than all the difference that is going on around them, and they will probably sleep and eat more regularly.
Children also thrive on exercise. If you’re driving long distances, be sure to stop every hour or two and have everyone get out of the vehicle to jump around, play a game of tag, or just run around in a safe area for a few minutes. This will help your child focus on whatever activities you have to keep them busy while in the car and keep them from getting too squirrely during the drive. Note: this will help the grownups, too.
Making Holidays Mindful and Special for Your Kids
These tips will help make the holidays special for your kids as they have opportunities to practice mindfulness so they don’t get caught up in the hectic energy that can be too much for them. While you’re at it, they might enjoy snuggling up at bedtime and reading one of Kelly Caleb’s entertaining and meaningful Now Cow books to help them focus on mindfulness throughout the season and the rest of the year.
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