How to Cope With Family Holiday Stress

The holiday season can be magical and exciting for the whole family, but it can also feel like a whirlwind of activity. No matter what you have planned, the holiday season can seem busier than any other time of the year. Here are some tips to help you and your family prevent and deal with holiday stress.

Simplify your holidays as much as possible

Often, this busy time of year can lead to stress in every member of the family. You may feel pressure to provide the perfect holiday, whether or not it’s realistic or expected. However, trying to achieve this level of perfection is unrealistic.

To counter this, think about what’s most important for your family, and determine what you can reduce or cut out altogether. For example, if you’re feeling stressed about all the gift-buying, you may consider focusing more on family experiences such as a walk in the woods or visiting grandparents.

Don’t feel pressured to say yes to every holiday event

This time of year, it can feel like there’s a holiday celebration every day. While they cam be fun, they may also be too much for your family. Consider what you and your children can realistically handle socially. Prioritize invitations that won’t take valuable time and energy away from priorities such as family mealtimes or extracurricular activities. Focus instead on the events that you and your family have the energy for, and that you’ll truly enjoy.

Create new holiday traditions that reduce stress

Holidays are all about celebrating traditions, but creating new traditions can be rewarding and highly meaningful for the entire family as well. For example, if preparing an elaborate meal for the extended family is a source of stress, you might change things so that it’s a fun family potluck instead. Or you may decide to reduce the amount of gifts your family buys and instead opt to spend the day watching movies and baking.

Remember to communicate

The holidays are busy, and things will never go perfectly. When emotions run high, it’s important to keep the lines of respectful communication open with the family. Toddlers and preschoolers see the world very differently from their parents, but helpful two-way communication is still possible. Through conversation, you can help your child express and understand their emotions. Sharing your feelings, expectations, and thoughts throughout the holiday season can go a long way in preventing stressful situations for the whole family.