This is a good time to remember that joy can be stressful! Joy is a high-arousal state of being for kids. So, enjoy the “joy” and manage the stress. Here are a few ideas for managing the excitement of the holiday season:

  • Know your child’s personality and limits. If you have a child who needs a break from the spotlight during the holiday, plan accordingly.
  • Stick with your routine as much as possible and maintain important rituals.
  • Help energized children when it’s time to calm down by suggesting they wind down with a soothing activity that they love. That might include listening to music, reading, playing a quiet game, or making some art.
  • Provide nutritious food, lots of water, and exercise. Try to schedule time for adequate (or catch-up) rest.
  • If you are going to someone else’s home for the holidays, take along your child’s favorite blanket or stuffed animal.

When you help your kids manage their youthful exuberance and the stresses that come with their exhilaration, you are also helping to establish important self-regulating systems in their brains.

Oh, joy!