Keep the kids calm through the holiday chaos

As we head into the holiday season it’s important to keep kids' mental wellbeing in mind. We assume that all children enjoy the fun and excitement leading up to the holidays.  Parents may be surprised to know that many kids actually experience a high level of anxiety this time of year due to changes in their social and school routines and even the the lack of sunlight. Kids may also feel increased anxiety if their parents are feeling stress about the holidays. Kids who are experiencing holiday anxiety may have negative thoughts, irritability, meltdowns and avoidance of school and social situations. This is why the holidays are a fantastic time for parents to teach their kids about mindfulness. 

Mindfulness is all about being immersed in the present moment. Here are 3 creative ways parents can encourage kids to be mindful when they are experiencing anxiety. 

Introduce a creative mindful activity.

Something as simple as mindful colouring can be a great way to bring a child's attention to the present moment and increase relaxation. By taking the time to carefully choose colours and move from one pattern to the next children can avoid getting lost in negative thoughts. New studies show that 5 minutes of mindful colouring is equal to an hour of meditation!

Practice Mindful Breathing

Parents can practice a simple breathing technique that kids can use if they are feeling overwhelmed. A great one to teach is Star Breathing. Kids use a finger to trace a star shape, breathing long breaths in and out as they go up and down the angles of the star. At the tip of each point, they hold their breath. When kids take a moment to pause and breathe intentionally, they are brought out of anxious thoughts and back into the present moment. 

Do a Mindful Movement Challenge

Parents can encourage children to move their bodies if they are feeling anxious.  Parents can prompt kids to imagine they are an animal prowling through the jungle, that they are popcorn popping or even teach them a challenging balancing pose. These fun challenges will shift the child's attention away from negative thoughts and bring them into their physical bodies.