A Happier Holiday

December 16, 2015

holidaystressshrunk25Christmas is a most wonderful time of the year: Family, friends, lights, music, traditions of faith, and presents. It’s a time to show gratitude for the gifts that have been given.  At work it’s a time to decorate, extra treats in the break room and the annual holiday party.  With the joy of the season comes extra projects, changes in work and family schedules, more financial responsibilities and return of long lost friends and family members. Read the rest of this entry »

Sparkle in Their Eyes: Being Mindful in the Moment

April 10, 2015

As spring is springing and birds are chirping, things can get a little busy and hectic. My to-do list grows like the grass and the budding trees. However, I am finding it more and more important to take a minute or 10 to stop and pay attention to the world around me. I recall a conversation I had about a year or so ago with a friend of mine who now has grandchildren of her own. We were talking about all this rat race business and she stated to me “I hope you don’t get so busy that you forget to notice the sparkle in your child’s eyes.” That statement has really stuck with me. Read the rest of this entry »

Can Christmas be Stressful for Kids?

December 23, 2014

As I tucked my daughter in her bed last night, she was a little weepy. As an education professional devoted to happy, healthy, and educated kids I probably should have figured things out right away. But as a mom, I was just hoping to get her tucked into bed so she wouldn’t be tired in the morning. However, after a few moments I realized that my sweetie may have been experiencing a kid-sized dose of holiday stress.

Kids are not immune to the stress that the Christmas season can sometimes bring. They take cues from the adults around them and some of us may be stretched pretty thin in December. Also, kids thrive on routine. All of the things that break up the usual schedule may be extremely fun but they are still a move away from the comfort of familiarity. Often these changes in schedule involve late nights, skipped naps, changed meal times and very little alone time. From infant to adult, the Christmas season is one that can bring challenges.

Other kids may not show stress in the same way that my daughter did. My youngest tends to act out or whine when stressed. Other kids may mention a tummy ache or lose their appetite. Some kids have an easy tell like nail biting or fidgeting when stressed. It is important to slow down enough to notice the cues that our kids are sending.

For my daughter, the stress came from not knowing what to expect. She knew we had some fun plans for the next few days but didn’t know what would happen and when. We spent some time talking about Christmas gatherings and which family members would be at each event. We talked about what we would eat and even what time we would go to Christmas Eve service at church. That did the trick for her! She was quickly ready for visions of sugarplums to dance through that thought filled head of hers.

Some other strategies to prevent or reduce stress for kids include: ensuring that kids are eating pretty well, following routines when possible, being aware of your own stress, finding moments for the family to rest and of course talking about what your child is feeling. Learn what helps your child unwind and remind them to do it. A hot shower, listening to music, drawing or coloring, petting the cat, for example. My youngest doesn’t seem to be the least bit stressed about upcoming changes in routine or wondering what will happen but I can almost guarantee that by December 26 she will need a few moments alone to curl up with a good book!

Take care of yourself. Take care of your kids. Enjoy Christmas. I’ll be spending it with two happy girls (most of the time) and many other family members, remembering the true reason that we celebrate Christmas. I wish you and yours the merriest of Christmases.

-Heather DeWit, Director of Childcare and Education Services

do nothing

Happy Holiday?

December 2, 2014

For most of us, the holiday season brings back memories of our childhood and leads to excitement for time with family and friends.  Along with this excitement, the holiday season can also bring increased stress and worry.  As we move into the holiday season, it is good time to take stock and plan for the coming weeks.  Here are a few things to consider.   Read the rest of this entry »

How to Know if You’re Stressed

July 2, 2013


Stress is a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened or upset your balance in some way. The stress response is the body’s way of protecting you. When working properly, it helps you stay focused, energetic and alert. It helps you rise to meet challenges. Stress is what keeps you on your toes during a presentation at work, sharpens your concentration.

But beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to your health, your mood, your productivity, your relationships, and your quality of life. Read the rest of this entry »

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