The most wonderful time of the year…


by Jenny Matern, Refuge Center Intern

Christmas! The most wonderful time of the year! Right?

christmas-lighting.jpgAs magical at this time of year can be, it is not immune to the stressors of daily life. In fact often times these stressors are magnified. The to-do lists, the parties, the constant excitement can all be overwhelming. As adults we go into survival mode, getting it done as fast as we can and trying to make time to enjoy it. But what about the kids?

In so many ways Christmas is geared towards them, but somehow they seem to get lost in it all. As parents see an increase in negative behaviors, these magical events become less enjoyable and parents began to wonder what the point is. Here is a quick list of a few things to keep in mind to keep the magic in Christmas:

Try to keep consistency in schedules as much as possible. The overwhelming and over stimulating feeling is only magnified for your child. If you generally have dinner as a family make an effort to keep that going. Leave your to-do list in the other room and take time to be present with one another.

Create a daily schedule. When schedules must be changed due to Christmas programs, holiday parties and last minute shopping, map the day out for your child so they know what to expect and do not feel they are being dragged around with no idea of what is next.

Find safe activities indoors that allow for a physical output. Remember, not only are your children’s excitement levels in full force, they are also not getting outside as much as they are used to due to cold temperatures. Allow them to hit a balloon around inside or push back the couches and allow for a game of duck duck goose.

Take time to give back with your child. This experience reminds them the true meaning of what Christmas is about and helps put the chaos into perspective. It can be as simple and quick as taking a few coats and blankets to a homeless shelter. The conversation during this time will bring the magic back for everyone.

Most importantly, give yourself grace during this time of the year. There will be bumps along the way, but take the time to watch your children’s eyes light up at the sight of Santa or the pride on their faces as you get the gifts they made for you. Take deep breaths and remember the reason for the season.

At any time of the year you need a little extra support, our counselors at The Refuge Center for Counseling are here to walk with you through any stage of life. Contact us today at 615-591-5262.

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