The holiday season can be a challenge for parents, especially managing holiday stress and their toddler’s emotional needs. FRIENDS National Resource Center offers support to parents by engaging with community organizations throughout the country. FRIENDS considers both blood relations and fictive kin as sources of support to help protect your children’s mental health.
Child Welfare offers information on national and local community organizations that can offer assistance. One of these organizations is called Legacy for Children. Legacy for Children is a group intervention for mothers and children to learn and grow. In spite of support options, the strongest protection toddlers have for emotional health are still their parents per the CDC. “Parents are the frontline public health workers-they nurture and support, supervise and teach healthy habits, make sure their child is safe and supported in their community, and help their child get the education and healthcare they need.”
Holidays: A Time of Joy…and Stress
“We usually think of the Holidays as a time of joy and celebration, gifts under the tree and visiting family and friends,” one community agency said in a media release. “But it can also be a stressful time for both parents and children, and that has an impact on mental health. On top of this has been the mental health impact of COVID-19 on children and youth. Some have never known another way, but others are navigating their second holiday season during the pandemic.” Here are some tips on managing holiday stress for both parents and toddlers.
The questions repeatedly asked by parents are:
How can we support our child’s emotional health over the holidays?
One way to support your child’s emotional health over the holidays is to remember to decompress yourself. Even babies pick up their parents’ stress and tension. If you keep your sense of humor you can diffuse stressful situations before the tension escalates for everyone in the home.
Keep to a routine for Sammy’s Milk feeding, potty time, bath time and bedtime. Putting regular tasks and activities on your social calendar helps make it easier to safeguard your child’s routine. And a regular routine goes a long way toward comforting toddlers.
What should parents do to prepare?
Even with your efforts to maintain routine there will be some disruptions, and that can be unsettling for toddlers. Preparation includes telling your child what you expect of them. If travel is involved bring a few familiar toys and books. Just make sure you come back with the same ones you took. It can help you and your toddler if you make some quiet one-on-one time with your munchkin before bed.
How can parents talk to their kids about mental health?
Open the discussion when your child feels well and safe. Keep it simple – toddlers need less details than older children want. Instead of using the phrase mental health, talk about feelings in a positive way. This is not about eliminating anxiety but recognizing and helping the toddler to manage it. You do not have to avoid things because they make a child anxious, but taking the time to talk about can relieve the stress on both sides.
During the holidays, keeping nutrition consistent is important too. Sammy’s Milk was made to take that stress off your shoulders, with a balanced nutritional blend of free range goat milk, avocado, molasses and more.