The holidays are a time for connection. Celebrating faith in whatever way that means to you and yours. A time to take a break from the hustle and bustle and settle in with the ones we love.
Does this sound like your vision of the holidays?
While this is how many of us want the holidays to pan out, our reality may be different. Sometimes we can’t be with the ones we love. Or, on the contrary, sometimes being with the ones we love for too long can be overwhelming. Already busy schedules get overloading with extra events. We may be sleeping less in an effort to do more. Kids are overexcited and over stimulated.
And trying really hard to be good.
In light of all of this, it’s easy to lose sight of the spirit of the holidays.
By the way, how did your Thanksgiving go?
If it wasn’t exactly how you would have liked it to be, rest assured it’s not too late to change up the holiday season. And, regardless of your faith, these are tips you can use all year round.
- Get enough sleep: No one of us functions at our best when we are depleted.
- Say no: What events can you pass on so you can say yes to more relaxed time connecting with your family?
- Manage your own expectations and emotions: For some of us, no matter how much we love our loved ones, extra time with extended family can cause stress and anxiety to creep in. Some of us may love hosting the holiday event, but our desire for it to be perfect makes life miserable for us and those around us. Managing expectations and emotions can be a small way to make a big difference. When tension begins to build, where can you find breaks for peace and connection with your child? It’s good to be planful, but can you laugh when it inevitably doesn’t go as planned? When adults are stressed kids notice and tend to take on that stress.
- Traveling with kids or having family stay with you? Kids love to know what to expect. Do your best to give them the information that is available to you: where you are going? how long it will take? who will be there? Try to keep some semblance of a routine for them by bringing some of their favorite foods/snacks, favorite toy or comfort item. Keep nap times if you can.
- Use devices wisely: By all means capture your memories, but don’t forget to partake in the actual memory as it happens. Enjoy now, post later. If family is far away use skype or facetime to connect with them.
- Create a tradition of cultivating gratitude. It’s a time for giving. But many parents find themselves feeling frustrated with their child’s focus is on receiving. By making gratitude important, you are role modeling for your child how to do this as well. Make it a practice in your family to tell each other every day one thing you are grateful for. Compile a list. (Side note: Don’t hold expectations. Your child may say the same thing every day. That’s ok. It’s the practice that’s important). Volunteer your time. Donate gently used toys. There are plenty of opportunities in our community to help local agencies help those in need.
- Missing someone? Light a candle in their honor or create a tradition of how to keep their memory alive.
Children learn from what we do not what we say. Pay attention to the memories you are creating. Are they ones you want to remember?
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Are you feeling like the daily struggle is just too much? Are you worried your child may have needs that extend beyond what you are currently able to offer them? Do you live in Central New York? If you are interested in learning more about psychotherapy and play therapy for your child I can be reached at 315-737-3094 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Jennie Mazza Jones, LCSW, CCPT has a private practice located in Clinton NY, where she specializes in providing psychotherapy to children and their caregivers utilizing Play Therapy. Jennie helps kids who long to feel accepted, want to do well, and wish they could control their worries, anger, and behaviors, but struggle because they communicate in a way that many adults don’t understand. She also helps parents/caregivers who want to help the important children in their lives reach their truest potential, but are afraid to make the wrong move, fear the worst, or are just unsure of what to do next. Jennie can be reached 315-737-3094, email@example.com and www.jenniemazzajones.com