It’s beginning to look a lot like the holiday season. The traffic is honking. The parking lots are jammed. The lines are long. The bank account is dwindling. And our children are feeling all of this, too. There are many ways we can push through the stress with our children and help them tap into the true meaning of the season, however that resonates with you and your family. Here are several easy ways to help let go of the holiday stress and put a smile on someone’s face that may really need it this time of year.
1. Breathe in the good stuff, breathe out the bad stuff: Teach your child some calming breaths, like bear breaths, bunny breaths, or blowing out birthday candles to help them (and you) relax, connect to their feelings, and to slow down their thoughts and worries.
a. To do bear breaths, or 3-part breaths, inhale slowly to the count of 3, hold the breath to the count of 5, then exhale slowly to the count of 3.
b. To do bunny breaths, inhale quickly 3 times through the nose, then exhale slowly through the nose. After doing these breathing exercise, talk with your child about how it made them feel.
c. Blow out birthday candles by having them hold their hand up in front of their mouth. Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. After each exhale, they fold down 1 finger (candle). Repeat with each finger.
2. In all the hustle and bustle, make family time special:
a. Designate a weekly game night.
b. Eat together as a family as often as possible.
c. Have your child help with the sending of cards by picking out their favorite picture or event they want to share with family and friends.
d. Turn your child’s favorite story into yoga time. Have your child help come up with poses for the different characters or events in the story. This is a great tool to help with reading comprehension through recall and sequencing.
3. Help your child give the gift of time to others. There are many child-friendly places looking for volunteers this time of year:
a. Clean up at a church or park.
b. Help an elderly person decorate for the holidays.
c. Serve or help shop for items to donate to a soup kitchen.
d. Wrap presents for an organization collecting toys: Toys for Tots, churches, or a children’s home.
e. Visit a nursing home or orphanage to share a meal or game with someone that might otherwise be lonely.
4. Make room for new clothes and toys by donating gently used toys and clothes to children’s homes, foster families, churches, Red Cross, or other community organizations in your area.

5. Cook and bake together then have your children help decorate cookies or arrange a platter to take to neighbors or to church or community members that may need some cheering up this time of year.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND BLESSINGS FOR A HAPPY 2017!

Mariann is a certified ESE teacher and certified kids’ yoga teacher through Kidding Around Yoga. Mariann taught in a self-contained setting for students with disabilities, primarily ASD, for 16 years before transitioning to be self-employed. Through her company, Spoonful of Spirit LLC, she serves as a kids’ yoga teacher, private tutor, blogger, and creates yoga related and special needs products for Teachers Pay Teachers through her store: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Spoonful-Of-Love-And-Learning
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