The holiday season is a time that, for many, is filled with fun and joy. Yet, for others, it’s a period flavored with stress and even trauma. This time of year can bring up memories of loss, create tension in homes, and present challenges as many families struggle to make ends meet.
Truthfully, the holidays not only amplify stress but can exacerbate existing mental health issues. For example, a National Alliance of Mental Illness study showed that 64% of those with mental health conditions report increased symptoms around the holidays.
So, how can we help our kids navigate holiday stress to keep their mental health in tip-top shape? Below are a few tips to help!
Role model healthy coping skills.
We set the tone for our kid’s behavior. Simply put, if we let holiday stress get to us, our children will pick up on that, and anxiety is more likely to be a problem.
So, while easier said than done, make sure to practice healthy coping skills and whatever self-care strategies keep you at your best.
Routine helps kids thrive.
This time of year often throws routines out the window, particularly for kids with holiday breaks from school. Yet, structure is critical for mental health and navigating stress.
Do what you can to help create a routine for your kids. Great examples of how to do so include setting regular sleep schedules and mealtimes.
While it’s tempting to try to fit a lot into the short holiday season, try your best to refrain. Cramming too much in will create overwhelm, adding stress in the home, leading to anxiety and challenging behaviors in kids.
Help kids practice kindness & gratitude.
We get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays that it’s easy to forget the true meaning behind the season. An excellent way for you and your kids to navigate stress is to give back. Encourage your little ones to shovel a neighbor’s driveway or find ways to participate in charitable giving.
Do you have a child who is struggling?
If so, we can help! Check out the clinical services page on our website to learn more about mental health support available to children through Youth Dynamics. Then, contact us online or call 406-245-6539 to reach any of our 30 locations about getting your child started.
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