Maintaining Your Child’s Mental Health During the Holiday Season

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The holiday season is always referred to as the “most wonderful time of the year”. But for many people, especially children, it can be a difficult time of year that holds as much potential for serious mental health strain as it does magical memories with loved ones.

The demands of the season — shopping, holiday parties, and social obligations to hosting guests and relatives, and more — can serve as potential stressors for individuals with mental health conditions. Alongside this, feelings of loneliness and isolation are also common around this time of year. Fortunately, there are things that parents can do to help reduce seasonal-related stress and anxiety mental health. Below, South Coast Community Services shares some tips on how to protect the mental health of children during the holiday season.

Consider Your Child’s Needs

If your child struggles with mental health, it’s important to consider their mental and physical well-being when making plans for the holidays. It’s important to recognize the stressors or triggers that they have so that you can be prepared for any stressful situations that may arise. Do they get overwhelmed with large crowds? What typically makes them physically or mentally agitated? Once you identify your child’s needs, you’ll be able to take the necessary steps to help them avoid or cope with holiday-related stress.

Image of a little girl holding Christmas lights in front of a decorated tree
Image of a family during a holiday dinner

Don’t Overschedule

The cheer of the holiday season can sometimes lead even the most pragmatic people to overcommit their time. Remember, any commitments you make should be done with your child’s mental health in mind. Decide what’s most important to you and your family, or where you want to go or what you want to do, and allow yourself to say no to requests for holiday events, get-togethers, parties that will put a strain on your families time.

Keep Up With Normal Routines

With everything going on during this time of year, it’s hard to stick to normal routines. This is especially true for children. It is common that children stay up long past their normal bedtime, eat more food than usual, and aren’t as active during the holidays. Getting away from normal routines can induce stress and feelings of being overwhelmed. Helping your child stick to their normal schedule as much as possible throughout the holiday season will help them avoid the sense of feeling stressed or anxious.

Image of a child sleeping in bed
Image of a mother and her two children in front of a fireplace

Appreciate the Moment Together

Children with a history of trauma or a mental health condition can experience a wide range of emotions that can be challenging to work through during the holidays. Rather than putting their feelings of sadness, grief, anger, or any other emotion to the side, help them acknowledge its presence and assist them in working through it at their own pace. To make the most of this time of year, help them stay in the moment, appreciate what they have, and enjoy the time spent with each other.

The holidays are meant to be a joyful time with family and loved ones. If your child gets stressed or anxious during this time of year, South Coast Community Services offers children’s counseling that can help them maintain positive mental health throughout the season. Contact us to learn more about our mental health services for children.