Preparing kids to avoid holiday anxieties

December 20, 2011 1:50:36 PM PST
There are things you can do to prepared your kids for holiday celebrations to help ease their anxiety.

For the little ones, traveling to a relative's house means new surroundings and potentially new dangers, especially around the Christmas tree.

"They're sparkly, they're pretty, there's lots of color and they really attract a toddler's attention and young children as they reach out to grab the branches and the ornaments do run the risk of having the tree topple down over on top of them so that's something that parents really need to be cautious about," says Dr. Kim Giuliano, Cleveland Clinic.

Your home may be child-proofed but that doesn't mean everyone else's is.

When you get there, parents should look out for low level small ornaments and tinsel which can both be choking hazards.

So can small holiday treats, candies and nuts that are left within reach.

And exposed extension cords and electrical outlets from those holiday lights may also pose a risk.

And for older kids, those big family meals can be uncomfortable and intimidating so psychologists suggest going into the meal with a game plan.

"Work with kids ahead of time, in terms of, if this is your plate of food, even if you don't like everything that's on it we have to at least take one bite of everything. Or let's only take as much as we think we're going to eat, so that we're not filling up a whole late of food that is going to waste," says Dr. Margaret Richards.

It can also help to let them know what to expect and who's going to be there, what activities are planned.

You can role play on the way over and practice some topics they can talk about with relatives or how to respond to an insensitive comment.

And bring along a familiar game they and other family members can play together


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