Ten Tips for a Peaceful Holiday Season: Helping Kids Relax

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Kids get pretty anxious over the holidays. It`s a time of excitement and wonder, and they often have a hard time relaxing, staying calm and sleeping well


By Patti Teel
 

Kids
get pretty anxious over the holidays. It`s a time of excitement and wonder, and they often have a hard time relaxing,
staying calm and sleeping well. Here are some tips to help your kids stay relaxed
and on a healthy sleep schedule.
 
1. Don`t overschedule your children.  Cut back on the tasks and activities which are likely to overwhelm them.  For example, avoid long trips to the mall with young children; short spurts
of shopping will be more fun for everyone.  Don`t try to change your child`s temperament; accept that he or she may be naturally
timid and soft-spoken, or boisterous and loud.  An activity level that might be comfortable for one child could be overwhelming
for another-even in the same family. 

2. Have activity-based celebrations.  For instance, spend time with children making cards, decorations,         cookies and gifts.  You may wish to let each child select one activity for the whole family to do
over the holidays. 

3. Have children stay physically active.  Don`t allow busy holiday schedules to crowd out active play time.  Physical activity is one of the simplest and most effective ways to reduce stress
and ensure that a child gets a good night`s sleep.  Children should have at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every
day.  (However, vigorous activities should not be done within several hours of bedtime
because it raises the metabolic rate and may make it difficult for your child
to relax.

4. When possible, have your children play outdoors.  Exposure to daytime sunlight helps children to sleep better at night. 

5. Teach your children relaxation skills such as stretching, progressive relaxation,
deep breathing and guided visualization.  Relaxation can be a delightful form of play and it`s easy to incorporate the
holidays in imaginative ways.  For example, play a relaxing game of “Santa Says.”  Direct children to stretch and relax by curling up like a snowball, to move
their arms and legs slowly in and out like a snow angel, or to open their mouths
widely to catch snowflakes. 

6. Banish bedtime fears and help kids put worries to bed.  Make a ceremony out of putting worries or fears away for the night.  Have children pretend, or actually draw a picture of what`s bothering them.  Fold, (or pretend to fold) the worry or fear until it`s smaller and smaller.  Then put it away in a box and lock it with a key.  It`s often helpful for older children and teens to list their worries in a journal
before putting them away for the night. 

7. Make your home a sanctuary from the overstimulation of the outside world by
making family “quiet time” a part of every evening.

 
-     Limit total screen time, including computer games, video games and time spent
watching television. Advertisements scandalously target children and the more
they watch, the more they soak up the commercial messages of the seasona



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