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Coping with holiday stress

For many families, the joys of the holidays are mixed with the strain of visiting relatives, shopping, the change in family routines, travel, and unsolicited advice.
It can be difficult to keep the spirit of the season when there are so many changes to adjust to. After the initial excitement, the strain usually begins to show. No matter how much you try or plan ahead, there are bound to be moments that are very frustrating, embarrassing, or completely unexpected. To ease the stress, here are a few suggestions to keep in mind.
Talk ahead of time with your relatives and friends to find out exactly what is planned. You can determine if any special arrangements or food will be necessary. If you are traveling, pack the essentials, with some familiar snacks to help children handle delayed meals. Ask ahead for help in meeting the needs of children in a place away from home and once there, relax your rules or restrictions. For a temporary situation, it’s okay for a child to stay up later or to have an extra treat. Above all, keep your sense of humor to keep the holidays fun.
Coping Strategies:
• Simplify whenever possible. To help with the morning rush, have clothes laid out, lunches packed, and shoes located the night before.
• Be ready to be flexible. You cannot prepare for everything and there are bound to be conflicts along the way. If your child insists on the orange shirt with the purple pants, avoid an argument and let it go. Ask yourself if it will really matter 24 hours from now.
• Remember that all children go through ages and stages. Before you get angry, remind yourself that you can expect typical behavior patterns as your child grows.
• Talk to your childcare provider and let her know when you feel stressed or angry. She may have suggestions to help you minimize your frustrations.
• As soon as you feel your anger is inappropriate, walk away and reach out to others for support.
For further information, contact Rita M. Hodges, County Extension Agent-Family & Consumer Sciences, 701 South I-35 E, Suite 3, Waxahachie, or call 972/825-5175 or e-mail: rmhodges@ag.tamu.edu

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Posted by on Dec 26 2007. Filed under Editorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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