The countdown has begun – only 21 sleeps until Christmas…
I woke up on the 1st December to the sounds of 2 very excited children, practically bouncing of the walls with joy because this was the day they could open the first window on their advent calendar. I was excited too, because I love Christmas, but these days I also approach December with some trepidation because it can be so busy & overwhelming, especially if you have a Highly Sensitive Child and/or are Highly Sensitive yourself.
School Nativities, carol services, parties, fairs, play dates, pantomimes – the run up to Christmas is truly a whirlwind of back-to-back activity. All of this comes at the end of a long school term, when the days are shorter and darker and when we may be feeling naturally predisposed to curl up and go into hibernation mode.
To avoid the inevitable tantrums that come from being over-tired and over-stressed, here are some ways to help you and your Highly Sensitive Child get through this Season of Joy and emerge feeling more Fa-La-La-La-La than Bah Humbug!
- Get more sleep – if you have a Highly Sensitive child, they will need more sleep at the best of times. When it’s party season and you’re trying to cram everything in, it’s easy to let bedtimes slide. Make a point of having early nights whenever you can.
- Relax before bedtime – to help get more sleep! Rather than go to bed with heads buzzing from a busy day, give your child a warm bath with a drop or two of lavender oil to help them relax (note – too much lavender can have the opposite effect, so be careful how much you put in!)
- Build in Downtime – it’s easy to feel flattered by multiple invitations, but if you have a Highly Sensitive Child, consider saying ‘No’ to some of them to create some rest days. Enjoying the really special events with happy children will always be preferable than struggling through endless outings with miserable ones.
- Remember to breathe – when things get too much and the stress levels start to rise, remember the power of deep breathing. By taking deep breaths we increase the supply of oxygen to the brain and stimulate our parasympathetic nervous systems, promoting feelings of calm. Take a look at our Resources page for a couple of great U-Tube videos on how to breathe with your children.
- Create a meaningful – Highly Sensitive friendly – family tradition – last year my husband
bought tickets to an evening carol concert. My heart sank when I realised it started at 7.30pm, but we went with our 2 small children, and I’m so glad we did. Being Highly Sensitive myself, I love music and am deeply moved by beautiful singing. Even though our girls were under 7 years of age at the time (and the little one kept falling asleep towards the end of the performance), they both loved it. The concert was a memorable highlight of the season for all of us, and one I hope to repeat this and every year to come! Creating a tradition like this can give the Christmas season a focus, something for you all to look forward to as a family. Maybe find one that taps into the Highly Sensitive superpower of sensory sensitivity – we may be bothered by scratchy clothes, but boy, can we really enjoy a good piece of music!