SCAN’s Favorite Tools for Managing Stress (Holiday Edition!)

It’s December — are parents around you looking a little more frazzled? Stress is an issue for families all year long, but during the holidays it can reach a fevered pitch. Here are some of our favorite tips and resources to share with the families in your community:

  1. Make smart decisions about what you say “yes” to as a family during this very busy time of year. If something doesn’t bring your family joy, consider saying no. Learn more about tackling Holiday Stress here.
  2. Talk about stress with your kids. Kids and adults might worry about different things, but the affects of that stress can be very similar. Parents can ask – and LISTEN to kids answer – questions about friends and family, activities and feelings. Explore some tips for understanding and addressing “Kid Stress” vs “Adult Stress” here.

  3. Remember that resilient families are better able to handle stress and other challenges that come their way. Choose a couple of resilience-builders to try this month when many of us need our resilience the most! Create a “Strengths Family Tree” or spend time before bed talking about one positive thing that happened during the day. Get more Resiliency tips here.
  1. Parents, take care of yourself this season! Your kids are watching you and will follow your lead when it comes to things like sleep, healthy eating and busy schedules. Choose some Self Care steps here.
  1. Recognizing, understanding and reacting to stress is not an easy job! If parents need some help on-the-go, download SCAN’s Parent Resource Center App. They can access all of the content above no matter where they are in their holiday travels! Download the App on iTunes or GooglePlay.


5 Tips for Parents to Help with Holiday Stress

christmas-cookies-553457Here they are — our 5 favorite tips from around the web to help parents manage stress this holiday season:

  1. Pay close attention once per day.

“Parents find themselves scattered over the holidays. Sometimes we forget that children need our time more than ever when things become hectic. We can give the gift of attention every day, without paying a penny to a toy store. Parents will find joy in the way a child’s eyes light-up during the 15 to 30 minutes set aside to read together or play a simple board game. Those few minutes lay the foundation of connection to children, and show love more than any Lego set or teddy bear.”

> Read Dr. Kevin Arnold’s article “Tips for Holidays & Parenting: Letting Joy Win Over Stress” in Psychology Today.

  1. Remember your stress can become your children’s stress.

“It’s a stressful time for many people. And even though we love our kids and they are lots of fun, they often magnify that stress. Even worse, our stress can trickle down to them, turning a happy holiday into a Noel nightmare.”

> Get some great tips (and laughs!) from Washington Post OnParenting reporter Amy Joyce’s article “Tips to Get Your Kids Through the Holidays Graciously and Gratefully.”

  1. Take the focus off of gifts.

“We’ve always done three gifts per person for Christmas, and no more. Our kids know to expect this, which means they know there’s a finite amount to the spoils they can expect. Many other families do a “want, need, wear, read” tradition, and I dig that, too. Whatever the route you take, I find that setting—and then communicating about—a firm limit on quantity helps keep expectations realistic.”

> Check out The Art of Simple’s “How we help curb the ‘I want that!’s during the holidays” post.

  1. Don’t try to please everyone.

“Someone — a parent, grandparent or in-law –will be unhappy. But, as a rule, the children will not be — and it’s the little things that they will remember, like time spent playing a board game or teaching you to operate their toys.”

> Read this helpful Parenting Tips for the Holidays article on WebMD.

  1. Find support and take care of yourself.

“Negative memories of past seasons sometimes resurface during the holidays, often adding more stress…Surround yourself and your children with safe, supportive people. Being with others can provide strength and nurturing during a difficult time.”

> Get the Holiday Stress & Solutions for Parents Fact Sheet (in English and Spanish) from SCAN’s Parent Resource Center.

We hope you’ll share these tips and resources with parents in your community. We’d love to hear your favorite tips, too!

And don’t forget to check out the fantastic #25days25ways campaign from Prevention Child Abuse Virginia this month. They’re sharing daily reminders to help us stay focused on children and support prevention during the holiday season.



Back to School Bash + Fancy Free Friday!

It’s that time of year…our kids are hitting the books, schedules are filling up and families across our area are getting back into the swing of school. With all of the excitement, we sometimes forget about the stress kids (and parents, too!) experience in the rush of September. Take time this week to start the school year off right:

1. Set aside time to talk with your kids every day after school. Ask questions. LISTEN to answers without judgement!

2. Make a commitment to meet their teachers, coaches and other adults in their school life.

3. Celebrate their success in school all year long (see below for a great way to kick off the party this week!) – how YOU approach school rubs off on them.

Our Parent Resource Center offers a variety of resources on topics including Advocating for your Child in School, Stress Management, Handling Bullying, Parent-Teacher Relationships and more. Be sure to check it out!

And now back to celebrating…we have a great FANCY FREE FRIDAY giveaway to help your family have its own Back to School Bash this weekend:

We’re giving away One Dozen Mini Cupcakes from Bittersweet Bakery in Alexandria. To enter to win, simply share one way you connect with your kids after a long day at school.

We’ll announce a winner Friday just in time for the weekend – can’t wait to hear your great ideas!