- Autumn Quiles, LCSW
Thanksgiving is approaching. Whether you are cooking the bird yourself or visiting a place where a bird will be cooked, the subtle tension of the holiday may be wafting through the air like the smell of cinnamon.
Some folks blame the never-ending to-do lists, but I think that the natural, but constant, demands of little people in the house may be ratcheting up the holiday joy into chaos. They are out of super-structured school and they are totallysuperexcited about the fun that free time brings. This puts a lot of pressure on parents and may lead to turkey tantrums. So, what to do?
Slow. Down. If possible, put that last-minute house project on hold or skip the just-one-more-store shopping finale. Be realistic about what you can accomplish with several humans in-tow. Some of the best memories ever can be made on a couch or in the backyard.
Maintain a Routine. Try to continue waking up at the same time as the school day. Be responsible about getting lunch midday. Keep bedtime at bed-time, even if there is so much more to do and so much more fun to be had. We all need constancy to feel sure of ourselves and rest to heal our bodies.
Go Outside. The benefits of nature therapy are REAL. The fresh air (especially during this cool weather!), the grass, the sunshine- these are all healing and naturally slowing for all of us. Make it a priority to go outside, even if only for a short walk or to look at the neighbor's early (WOAH!) Christmas decorations.
Eat. We all need extra fuel during stressful times, regardless of whether or not it is good or not-so-good stress. Have plenty of snacks on hand and create a holiday nibble zone in the house, where they can come and get a bite or two when their energy is low. This also allows you to make sure they get some healthy food amidst all the junk- make sure the snacks are wholesome and protein packed, to tide them over until the next meal.
Don't Referee, Teach. Sibling drama is a given during stressful periods. It's tempting to referee the fights, just to get them out of your hair. If you are Slowing Down, part of this can be sitting with the kids after an argument, getting to the bottom of it, and teaching them how to deal with the next conflict when it comes along. Giving them the tools to solve their own conflict may save you from being called in to referee constantly.
Be Thankful. 'Tis the season, right? There are plenty of families who look back at the chaos of Turkey Time with fondness and nostalgia. You are in the thick of it. Being mindful, practicing gratitude for this, can give you a sense of peace that the wee ones will feel immediately.
Sometimes, the holiday is filled with natural stress and chaos. But, sometimes families see red flags during this time that tell them their child needs more than just 6 Tips on a therapy blog. If you see that your kiddo needs more, that there is more going on here than just the run-of-the-mill stress, give me a call. Let's talk about it.