Janet Fox | 12/12/2007 4:07:24 AM
Although holiday thoughts are typically happy, the hustle and bustle of holiday schedules can be challenging. The season can bring up many issues for families to deal with, according to LSU AgCenter youth development expert Dr. Janet Fox.
Children may be excited by all the events and activities of the season, but they also can get stressed out.
“Children need routine, structure, consistency and attention,” Fox says, explaining, “It’s important to be sensitive to the family’s schedule.”
The holidays can make depressed children even more vulnerable and sensitive to changes in routine. “Build in time for rest and relaxation,” Fox says.
Parents play an important role in helping the holiday season be positive. Whether you are a single parent who has your child year-round, a noncustodial parent who will be spending time with your child or someone dealing with any other difficult or nontraditional situation, you can make your child’s (and your) holiday season a positive one.
As a parent, you are a role model who sets the tone. Therefore, if you are having a tough time during the holidays, it’s important to do your best to keep things in perspective and try to remain optimistic.
Holidays are a special time for parents and children to do things together. Even though our culture places value on materialism, you cannot buy the intimate moments that holidays can provide.
“Spending time with your children in meaningful activities or discussion will mean more than a boatload of gifts that your children might want,” Fox says.
Families should recognize the importance of, and create or practice family rituals. These rituals make holidays special. Often, children carry these rituals into adulthood.
Rituals can be as elaborate or simple as the family chooses. They might mean spending a weekend afternoon making cookies together, decorating the house, caroling in your neighborhood or participating in a religious or cultural event.
For related family topics, visit the LSU AgCenter Web site at www.lsuagcenter.com. For local information and educational programs, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office.