700 Children's® – A Blog by Pediatric Experts

How Adults Can Help Children Prevent and Decompress from Holiday Stress

Dec 05, 2023
parent holding a child next to the fireplace

The holiday season can be filled with festive cheer and family gatherings, but it can also bring stress and the feeling of being overwhelmed, especially for children. It’s important to come up with a strategy to minimize holiday stress for children and build space to decompress after the holidays. Creating a supportive environment for your family is possible with proper planning.

Before the holidays begin, it’s essential to set realistic expectations and boundaries. To help prevent holiday stress, discuss with your child what activities and traditions are most meaningful to them. Avoid overcommitting to events or obligations and emphasize the importance of quality time spent together over the quantity of activities.

Model healthy self-care practices for your children by prioritizing your well-being. Emphasize the importance of adequate sleep, balanced nutrition, and regular physical activity. When children see their parents prioritizing self-care, they are more likely to adopt these habits themselves.

It is also crucial to help your child establish clear boundaries. Discuss with your child the importance of balance during the holidays, including both social interactions and personal downtime. Teach them to recognize and communicate their limits, ensuring they feel empowered to say no when needed.

Parents and caregivers can help their children navigate the post-holiday period with ease, while also preventing holiday stress and establishing healthy boundaries.

How to Help Your Child Decompress After the Holidays:

    1. Open Communication

      The key to understanding your child's feelings is by having open communication. Create a safe space for them to express their emotions and share their experiences during the holidays. Ask open-ended questions, actively listen, and validate their feelings. By doing so, you not only foster trust, but also help them process any stress or anxiety they may be feeling.

    2. Return to Routines

      Returning to a routine after the holidays can provide a sense of stability for children. Reestablish a regular bedtime, mealtime, and other daily activities. Consistent routines help children feel secure and can contribute to a smoother transition from the holiday hustle to a more structured environment.

    3. Relaxation Techniques

      Teach your children simple relaxation techniques to manage stress, like deep breathing exercises and mindfulness. Encourage them to take short breaks during the day to practice these techniques to help foster a sense of calmness and self-awareness.

    4. Reflection

      Sit down with your child and reflect on positive moments from the holiday season. Encourage them to share their favorite memories, reinforcing the positive aspects of the holidays. This reflection can help shift their focus away from stressors and create a more hopeful mindset.

As parents, fostering a supportive and understanding environment for our children is essential, especially during the post-holiday period. By implementing open communication, establishing healthy routines, and promoting relaxation techniques, you can guide your children through the chaos of the holidays. Additionally, taking proactive steps to prevent holiday stress and set boundaries ensures a more balanced and fulfilling holiday experience for the entire family.

For more tips for parents on managing holiday stress, check out these resources at The American Psychological Association. To learn more about self-care and positive parenting, check out these resources at Triple P – Positive Parenting Program.

The Center for Family Safety and Healing
Learn more information about programs and services

Featured Expert

Alena Schuckmann
Alena Schuckmann
The Center for Family Safety and Healing

Alena Schuckmann is the Digital Communications Specialist for The Center for Family Safety and Healing. Alena graduated with a degree in communications and a minor in art from Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky. Alena is a skilled digital content creator who has had various articles and photographs published locally and nationwide.

All Topics

Browse by Author

About this Blog

Pediatric News You Can Use From America’s Largest Pediatric Hospital and Research Center

700 Children’s® features the most current pediatric health care information and research from our pediatric experts – physicians and specialists who have seen it all. Many of them are parents and bring a special understanding to what our patients and families experience. If you have a child – or care for a child – 700 Children’s was created especially for you.