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Heartland Behavioral Health Services- Children & Holidays- December 16, 2013

Alyson Harder discusses some way parents can ensure their children experience a happy holiday.
Segment 2: How to ensure your children experience a quality holiday season

The holiday season can be a time of stress and overwhelming emotions for children, as well as adults.  Beginning in November with all of the advertisements and store displays, children are exposed to the holiday season earlier and earlier each year.   By the time the actual holiday rolls around, it tends to lose its’ meaning.  As parents and caregivers we can help our children experience the true meaning of the holiday season

Stress the importance of family and togetherness through your actions.  Don’t overcommit yourself or your family to too many activities/events-focus on some that will ensure that you can spend quality time together-i.e.: driving around and looking at lights, a church function, hot cocoa and movie night

Create the “holiday spirit” in your home, listen to music, sing, dance-enjoy one another, spend time counting your blessing, instead of asking for more.

Teach your children the “power” of giving…set a day to volunteer or add to a can drive.   Encourage them to include others/charities on their Christmas list. Shop together for a family or charity.

Just like with adults-try to keep kids on a schedule-it will help with managing the Holiday break from school.  Give them time to relax, but not enough to become complacent and lazy!

For those children who have experienced loss in their life, it is important to remember that this can be a difficult time.  This can sometimes be hard to recognize, so don’t be afraid to talk about it, ask questions and encourage children to find ways to express emotions.  Create a special ornament or lighting a candle each night in memory
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