The title might seem unusual since we generally expect children to be thrilled during Christmas. As a mother of two, I’ve noticed my kids’ excitement for the holiday season, but it’s essential to acknowledge that not every child shares this sentiment. While Christmas brings joy, it can also bring heightened stress for some children. In my role as a Clinical Hypnotherapist specialising in child anxiety, I’ve observed common concerns children face during this festive period. Let’s explore these challenges and discuss coping strategies to support parents throughout the season.
- Navigating Present Pressures:
Many of us wish we’d chosen the perfect gifts for our loved ones. Engaging in open communication with your child about their feelings regarding gifts is crucial. Emphasis on the joy of giving and the thought behind presents to cultivate a positive mindset. Share personal stories of cherished presents and the satisfaction that comes from thoughtful gift-giving, reinforcing the importance of meaningful gestures.
- Dealing with Family Gatherings:
For some, Christmas is the sole occasion when families and friends come together, often marking the last meeting of the year. This can be particularly overwhelming for individuals, especially children, who find social situations challenging. Take a moment to guide your child through the upcoming gatherings. Share anecdotes about the relatives they may encounter to offer a sense of familiarity and comfort. Establish a safe word or signal they can use if feeling overwhelmed, granting them a sense of control in social situations.
- Maintaining Holiday Routine:
Children thrive on routine, and for some, holidays can bring distress and unsettlement. Create a flexible holiday routine to offer a sense of structure. For instance, consider scheduling a daily family walk at a specific time, regardless of the weather. Incorporate enjoyable activities, striking a balance between festive excitement and the comfort of familiar routines.
4. Easing Back-to-School Anxiety:
As the new year and term approach, the prospect of change can trigger anxiety in some children. Alleviate their concerns about returning to school by highlighting positive aspects of the upcoming term. Employ guided imagery to foster positive associations with the academic challenges ahead. If feasible, organise playdates closer to the beginning of the term or plan to walk to school with friends on the first day back.
5. Creating Positive Associations with Holidays:
Fostering a calm and balanced mindset in young ones lays the foundation for a hopeful future. Having worked with children of various ages, I’ve witnessed the transformative impact of early learning in calming the mind and cultivating positive images. In a tech-driven era where constant thinking is encouraged, dedicating time to relax the mind is crucial for all ages. Incorporate simple hypnotherapy exercises to establish positive associations with holiday events. Visualisation and relaxation techniques can reshape negative perceptions, enhancing the overall holiday experience.
Integrating these coping strategies into your holiday approach can significantly reduce your child’s anxiety. Keep in mind that each child is unique, so customise these strategies to fit your child’s specific needs. If concerns persist, I’m more than happy to assist through either a face-to-face session or by creating a personalised recording to address specific concerns.
Wishing you and your child a holiday season filled with joy and free from stress!