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A Guide to Supporting Children’s Mental Health in the Holiday Season

Health & Wellbeing

The holiday season is often regarded as a time of joy, celebration, and family togetherness. However, it’s essential to recognise that for some children, the Christmas holidays can bring about stress, anxiety, and a range of emotions that may impact their mental wellbeing, take a look at our insightful blog on how you can go about recognising these signs here. As parents/guardians, it’s crucial to be aware of our children’s mental health and take proactive steps to nurture their emotional resilience. In this blog, we will help you explore five top tips on how parents/guardians can support their children’s mental health during the Christmas holidays. 

Here are 5 top tips to help you this Christmas: 

1) Maintain routine and structure: 

One of the challenges during the holidays is the disruption of established routines. Children thrive on predictability, and sudden changes can be disorienting. While some deviation from the norm is inevitable during the festive season, parents/guardians can help by maintaining a basic structure. Ensure that essential routines, such as regular mealtimes and bedtime, are adhered to as closely as possible. This consistency provides children with a sense of security and stability, contributing positively to their mental wellbeing. 

2) Communication: 

The holiday season may bring about various emotions in children, ranging from excitement and joy to stress and even sadness. Encourage open communication by creating a safe space for your child to express their feelings. Be an attentive listener without judgment, allowing them to share their experiences, concerns, or even wishes. Understanding your child’s emotions enables you to address any anxieties they may have and fosters a sense of trust and connection. 

3) Manage expectations: 

While it’s natural for children to be excited about the holiday festivities, managing expectations is crucial to avoid disappointment. Discuss with your child what to expect during the holidays, including potential changes in routines, family gatherings, and gift-giving. Emphasise the value of experiences over material possessions and help them understand that not everything may go as planned. Teaching resilience in the face of unexpected circumstances is a valuable life skill that contributes to mental wellbeing. 

4) Encourage mindful practices: 

Introduce your child to simple mindfulness techniques that can help manage stress and anxiety. This could include deep breathing exercises, short moments of meditation, or even gentle yoga stretches, to read further into meditation and yoga tips and tricks click here. Engaging in these practices together not only promotes relaxation but also creates bonding moments. Encouraging mindfulness helps children develop emotional awareness and coping mechanisms, which are valuable skills for navigating the ups and downs of life, including the holiday season. 

5) Foster quality family time: 

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the holidays, prioritise quality family time. Create traditions that involve everyone, such as decorating the Christmas tree together, preparing a special meal, or engaging in festive activities. Quality time strengthens family bonds and provides a sense of belonging, which is crucial for children’s mental health. Limit screen time and distractions during these moments, allowing genuine connection and shared experiences to take center stage. 

As parents/guardians, the role extends beyond simply creating a festive atmosphere during the holidays. It involves actively nurturing our children’s mental health by promoting stability, open communication, realistic expectations, mindfulness, and quality family time however, we know more than anything here at ActiveMe360 that Christmas can be majorly overwhelming so, click here to find out more about coping with the excitement. By incorporating these practices into the holiday season, we can contribute to our children’s emotional wellbeing, fostering resilience and a positive outlook that extends well beyond the Christmas festivities. 

 

If you’re looking to boost your knowledge on children’s mental health, take a look at some of our available courses here