Phoenix Centre offers children’s mental health tips to help your family this holiday season

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When your child is struggling with mental health challenges, the holidays are not always easy. With so many expectations about what the holidays should be like or who we should be spending our time with, it can be very difficult to make it all work.

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Our child and youth mental health experts at The Phoenix Centre for Children and Families have rounded up some tips and ideas to help your family this holiday season:

Do what works for your family. Expectations of the holidays can be hard on children – and, let’s face it, it’s not ‘the happiest time’ for all of us. It’s ok to prioritize mental health over holiday commitments.

Plan early. Routines and predictability are often beneficial (within reason) for children and youth with mental health challenges. It’s a good time to start having conversations with children about what the holidays may look like so that they know what to expect

Find a quiet place in a busy space. If you’re planning to see family for the holidays, consider finding a spot during a holiday gathering where your child (or you) can go for a break if they need it.

Managing disappointment. For many of us, the holidays still won’t be what they may have been before the pandemic. That will be disappointing for a lot of children (and parents!) It’s important to acknowledge that disappointment, especially for children.

Supporting children through grief. The holidays can be especially hard for families who are grieving. Remembering your loved one, telling stories, and laughing about good times together are all ok to do, and can provide comfort to your child.

Take care of you. The holidays can be a stressful and anxious time for parents, too. Make sure that you are eating, sleeping and enjoying the holidays as well. Take time when you need it, don’t feel guilty saying no when you need to.

Find out more:

Our child and youth mental health centre is open and we continue to provide essential mental health supports. We are here to help parents, caregivers, children, and youth.