10 Holiday Tips for Parents of Children With Mental Health Needs

10 Holiday Tips for Parents of Children With Mental Health Needs

Parents have been on an eight-month emotional rollercoaster trying to manage their children’s, and their own, mental health. For many, just getting through the holidays will be reason to celebrate.

Below are some tips from our Family Support Specialists who hold free, virtual parent support groups.

  • Skip traditions. It takes a lot of energy to decorate the entire house. Create a new holiday tradition that will take the pressure off everyone.
  • A home-cooked meal is delicious but expensive. Why not order out and spend the extra time having fun?
  • Lower expectations. If you are unable to afford gifts or feel unsafe going to a store, create memories by planning special activities.
  • Stay in touch. Parents who are separated from children can plan a virtual holiday. One of our parents is opening gifts during a family Zoom call.
  • Be realistic. Months of buildup creates excitement and anxiety that kids do not know how to handle. Take a deep breath and prepare for meltdowns.
  • Set expectations. Relatives will understand if you cannot see them this year. One of our parents is sending her elderly aunts 12 small, homemade gifts to open each day before Christmas.
  • Forgive yourself. Parents have been caring for their children nonstop. If you lose your patience, apologize, and give yourself a pass.
  • When you feel yourself spiraling, stop and laugh at the situation. The moment will pass.
  • Find community. For parents who are alone or have lost a loved one this year, volunteering can create a sense of belonging.
  • Stop comparing. Parents of children with mental health or other behavioral issues cannot compare experiences with friends or family. Accept your child as they are and try to enjoy the differences.
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