They say it all starts at home. Reduce the stress within yourself and within your kids this holiday season!
Visualize a heart-filled holiday.
You can do this one at the dinner table. Have everyone in the family close their eyes, focus on their heart, and imagine what kind of holiday will bring joy into their heart. Then share your ideas around the table. This helps kids feel listened to, cared for and included.
Sweat is sweet.
Surprise little ones by clearing the furniture out of the center of the room, turning on some fun music, and dancing vigorously for 10 minutes. Or bundle up the family and take a wintry walk while playing “I Spy.” Exercise releases feel-good chemicals and is one of the fastest ways to chase away holiday blahs and instill a sense of togetherness.
Be grateful for who you live with.
Avoid some of the little and big jealousies that crop up from comparing who has a bigger present or counting how many gifts go to whom by starting early and giving gifts of appreciation — to each family member. Take the whole month of December (or start at Thanksgiving) and every day have each person share something they appreciate about another (big brother allowing younger sister to hang out in his room, for example). Make a running list and post on the fridge or in the family room to remind each other when stresses build that you really do care about and love each other.
Spread the joy around.
The time-honored tradition of helping others can shift priorities. If kids or teens are moping around or showing signs of stress, take them to the local soup kitchen to serve meals. Visit a nursing home with hand-made cards, or offer a free concert. Helping others gives kids a feeling of more control and a sense of being both useful and appreciated.