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Relieving Holiday Stress

Two sad, screaming toddlers

​​​The holiday season and all that comes with it can cause a great deal of stress for you. Your child may be feeling it, too. If your child is becoming increasingly anxious or tense, help ease the burden with this stress-reducing strategy.

Tell your child to do the following:

  • Find a quiet spot to lie down or sit back.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Tense your muscles, beginning at the top (face) or bottom (toes) of your body, and hold for three seconds (As an example, tell your child to tense all the muscles in his or her feet, release after three seconds, then tense the muscles in the calves and legs, etc.).
  • Inhale as you tense your muscles, and hold your breath in; then relax and exhale.
  • Practice this method when you're not feeling stressed out, too.
  • When feeling stress, identify which muscle group is tense.
  • Exhale and release the tension in those muscles.

Quick and easy to do, this technique works for adults, too. Try it this holiday season, and see if it doesn't help alleviate some of your worries. Happy holidays!

Coping strategies for families, like the one just described, can be found in Skills for Families, Skills for Life. The book was written by family consultants and includes more than 100 skills on everything from family communication to home safety.