The Holidays are coming and for kids and parents that can mean a big change in routine with kids out of school, dinners with friends and family and parties galore! Sounds fun, right? Well, when we have children who have anxiety, these changes in routines can become challenging.
Creating a supportive and comforting routine for children with anxiety during the holidays is essential to help them feel secure and at ease. Here are some suggestions for establishing a routine that can be beneficial for kids with anxiety during the holidays:
Creating your Holiday Routine:
- Maintain a consistent daily schedule to provide a sense of predictability and stability. This can look like waking up and going to bed around the same time every day.
- Prepare the child in advance for any changes in routine or upcoming events. This can look like a wall calendar with information about what their week will look like.
- When possible, schedule activities and fun for you and your kid with traditions that have been handed down or by creating new ones together!
- Be intentional about how you are using screens. They can be a good tool to help when you have that call that you have to take but remember that screens are very stimulating for our brains so be intentional about how and when you allow you kiddo to use them.
- Foster an environment where your child feels comfortable expressing their feelings and concerns.This can be done with daily check-ins or as a family activity of everyone sharing their daily high (something that was AWESOME!), low (something challenging/hard/disappointing) and wow (something that surprised you).
- Be intentional about discussing any worries or fears they may have. Encourage them to share. Your job is to just listen or be there with them. For children with anxiety, you can’t always fix the problem or make the worry go away, but you can be there to listen and “hold it” with them.
- Foster connections with understanding friends and family members who can provide emotional support and understanding.
- Okay, Mamas, Papas, Grannys, Gramps- give yourself grace too. Whether you are multitasking and caring for your home kiddos and working from home, or balancing being home with kids who have been freed from school for an extended period, you are doing a great job and it is different for everyone. Give yourself some time for a deep breath, a nice bath, a warm cup of coffee or hot chocolate ☕️. Try to find the joy and thanks in all of the holiday madness.
Last but not least: seek the guidance of a mental health professional if the child’s anxiety significantly impacts their daily functioning and well-being.
Creating a supportive and predictable routine can help children with anxiety feel secure, build resilience, and manage their symptoms effectively during the holiday season.
Written by: Meagan Jackson, LPC-S, RPT-S
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