The holiday season usually is a joyful time. Many families look forward to gathering with relatives and friends, exchanging gifts and celebrating traditions. But COVID-19 and physical distancing have brought a new kind of stress this holiday season.
There are ways families can cut down their stress during the holidays. Sticking to routines as much as possible, exercising, eating healthy food, and getting plenty of sleep can help. Pay attention to how much time your kids—and you—spend on screens. And avoid the pressure to spend a lot on gifts, focusing on the simple joy of spending time together.
If your toddler’s tantrums or teen’s mood swings seem more intense during the pandemic, though, it could be a sign that they need support to manage emotions and behavior.
Beyond “normal” holiday stress
Even if your family does not know someone who is directly affected by the virus, it may be hard for children to manage their feelings. When making plans, parents should think about how their child has handled holiday stress before.
Traveling & Gathering During the Holidays
For many families, the holidays are about getting together with relatives and friends. But as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, gatherings with people outside your household continue to be risky this holiday season. Public health experts say that small household gatherings are some of the main ways COVID-19 cases spread so much again this fall.
With some extra planning and lower risk activities, though, your family can create lasting memories while lowering the risk of being exposed to or spreading COVID-19. Here are some tips for families this year:
Celebrate with members of your own household.
Find creative ways to share the experience remotely
Consider a drop-off treat exchange
Shop online and help elderly or higher-risk loved ones
If you are Traveling:
Take safety steps beforehand. For two weeks before the gathering, remind guests to follow steps that lower the risk of COVID transmission. This includes wearing cloth face coverings, physical distancing, and limiting outings and social gatherings as much as possible. Consider offering your guests a “self-screening” checklist and ask them to join you virtually if they realize they are at higher risk of exposing the group to COVID-19.
Safer travels. Guests traveling for the get-together should drive with family members in a private vehicle, if possible, and wear masks at gas stations and rest stops. Anyone who has to fly should be extra careful around groups clustered near security lines and concourses, wear masks in airports and on planes, and hang back until lines have thinned.
If you have any questions about how to safely celebrate the holidays, contact Kids First Pediatrics of Raleigh at 919-250-3478, or our Clayton office at 919-267-1499. And from all of us at Kids First we wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday!
Articles From healthychildren.org: