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How To Help Kids With Anxiety During The Holiday Season


During the holidays, kids can feel nervous about meeting new people and being expected to put on a happy face for family and friends. They might also be worried about whether everyone will like them, as well as how they’ll handle conversations with more adults than usual. This can make the holiday season feel even more stressful for your child, who might be experiencing other stresses at home or school too. However, the holidays don’t have to be so anxiety-inducing if you follow some helpful tips and create a plan with your child that helps them cope with their feelings during this time of year.


Create A Plan Before The Season Begins

Before any season, it’s important to create a plan with your child to help them get through the transition to a new school year, as well as any holiday transitions. This could include building in time for your child to talk about their feelings, or planning to get them involved in activities that help them learn how to socialize with others better. You might also want to look into getting your child some professional support to help with their anxiety, as this can be particularly difficult to manage during the holidays. During the transition to a new school year, it can be helpful to take some time to talk with your child about their feelings related to the change. If your child is concerned about fitting in with their new classmates, it can be helpful to talk about how you want them to feel confident and comfortable with others, and what they can do to help them feel more confident in this area. If your child is experiencing more general feelings of anxiety, it can be helpful to talk about what they might expect to happen so they have a clearer idea of what they’re experiencing. This can help your child understand why they feel the way they do, and help them feel less anxious.


Help Kids Understand Why They Feel Sick Or Anxious

Kids might have trouble understanding why they feel sick or anxious during the holiday season, especially if they aren’t experiencing other stresses at home or school. It’s important to help your child understand why they feel the way they do, as this can help them to cope with their anxiety a little better. If your child is experiencing anxiety about social situations, you can talk with them about how they can try to approach this new situation with more confidence and fewer worries about how it might go. You can also help your child understand that it might be helpful to seek support from others if this is something they want to talk about more. Kids might be able to relate to this better if you can explain that anxiety is something that everyone experiences from time to time, but it can be helpful to talk to people who have experience with anxiety or to get professional help if it’s something your child wants.


Don’t Just Tell Kids To “Snap Out Of It”

If your child is experiencing anxiety more than usual, you might feel like it’s your job to “snap them out of it” by trying to explain that it’s not that serious, or that it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. However, this might not be helpful to your child, and might even make them feel even more embarrassed and ashamed about their symptoms. Instead, try staying calm and taking a more supportive tone while also communicating that you’re there to listen and help your child cope with their anxiety as much as possible. You can try using phrases like, “Is there anything we can do to help you feel better?” or “What do you need right now?” to help your child feel like you’re there for them and interested in their feelings more than the usual way you’d just be trying to “fix” their anxiety.


Stay Connected With Your Child And Show You're Committed To Supporting Them

It can be helpful to remain in touch with your child during the holiday season and make sure they know that you’re committed to supporting them through their anxiety. This can help to build trust and confidence with your child and make it less likely that they’ll try to hide their symptoms from you. Make it a rule with your child that they can talk to you about their anxiety or their symptoms at any time, and make sure that you keep this rule even when it feels like a hassle or you’d rather be doing something else. You can also try sending your child a text message or email when you’d rather be doing something else to let them know you’re interested in what they’re feeling, and that you’re there if they need to talk to someone. This can make a huge difference to how much your child feels like they can talk to you about their symptoms and anxiety, and can help your child to feel like they have someone they can turn to if they’re feeling worried.


Look For Ways To Celebrate Too!

It can be easy to focus on the negative parts of the holidays and become overwhelmed by all of the stresses and expectations of the season. However, it can be helpful to look for ways to celebrate too! You can try planning holiday celebrations that are based on traditions that don’t usually involve family members where you might feel like an outsider, or celebrating with a group or activity that doesn’t include other people from your family. This can help to keep holiday celebrations from feeling like a pressure, or it can help you to see the positive side of the holidays with less stress. You can also try finding ways to celebrate the holidays that are less about the pressure of being around others and more about spending quality time with those you care about. This can be a great way to make the holidays feel a little more relaxing and enjoyable, even if you don’t have the ideal circumstances to celebrate in.


What If My Child Has Anxiety Around Parties?

If your child has anxiety around social situations, they might be especially vulnerable to experiencing a lot of anxiety around the holidays. You might notice that their anxiety is especially intense around parties, or they might describe feeling like they have a stomach ache when they think about celebrating with others. It can be helpful to seek out professional help if your child is experiencing these symptoms more than usual, as you can also try to help your child to see that these feelings are normal, and aren’t something to be embarrassed about. If your child is experiencing these symptoms more intensely around the holidays and other events that involve socializing, you can try to help them to see that they don’t have to be pressured into being around others or having a certain kind of holiday celebration. You can help your child to see that celebrating the holidays in a way that feels authentic for them is normal and not something to be ashamed of.


Summary

Kids can feel anxious during the holidays, especially if they’re experiencing other stresses at home or school. You can try to help your child to build coping mechanisms and feel less anxious, while also building mindfulness around their anxiety and learning how to express their feelings more effectively. It can be helpful to stay connected with your child and show that you’re committed to helping them to manage their anxiety, while also finding ways to celebrate the holidays that aren’t based on the pressure of being around others.

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