Many of us are familiar with the way the holidays can feel sometimes. What is supposed to be a joyous time of celebrating with loved ones, can be very stressful between holiday shopping, people’s expectations, holiday parties and social get-togethers, and more. This stress ultimately affects our children and can stress them out as well. Keep reading below for some tips on how to help kids handle holiday stress!

Manage your own stress.

Kids learn by example, and many of them can feel when their parents are stressed. Do what you need to do as a parent to try and make this time less stressful for yourself, and your kids will inevitably be less affected.

Keep routines as similar as possible.

Kids (and adults!) do best when routines are predictable. We’re creatures of habit after all! This is especially true in terms of getting enough sleep, and sticking to healthy meals and habits throughout the day.

Manage expectations.

Children get especially excited by the thought of getting a gift that they really want and just the holidays in general. Help your kid set realistic expectations in what gifts they might get or activities they may want to do by being upfront and honest with them if they want something you can’t afford, or if they want to do an activity that you may not be able to do. Suggest alternatives, and let them be part of the process.

Spend time together as a family.

People like to feel as though they’re part of a unit, and kids are no exception. Sometimes spending time with your family and being present can be beneficial in not only restoring that connection that may have been lost during the hustle and bustle of the holidays but in reducing stress as well. This is especially true if the family does something special or fun together, like going to see a movie, decorating for the holidays, or even baking cookies together.

Volunteer together.

It’s been proven that giving back makes us happier. The same is true for reducing holiday stress and giving not only your children but yourself a sense of spirit and community during the holidays. Find age-appropriate volunteer activities that kids can do, such as walking dogs at the animal shelter, or serving food to the homeless at a soup kitchen. There are options for many ages.

To learn more about how to help kids handle stress during the holidays, click here!