Although some adults get the holiday blues, children can fairly burst with excess energy during December. "The holiday anticipation can rev them up," says Dee Shepherd-Look, professor of child development at Cal State Northridge. Besides wondering how good their gifts will be, kids are left to cope without the familiar structure of school. They might also be anxious about socializing with unfamiliar relatives. ("Is Uncle Joe going to tweak my cheek again?")
How do you peel the kids off the ceiling?
Know how to make use of their energy, Shepherd-Look advises. "In the daytime, get them involved in a meaningful way--helping with holiday cards, wrapping gifts and making decorations. When you want them to calm down, switch to other techniques--relaxation, imagery, that kind of thing."
Kids can calm themselves down by using five "tools," says Betty Mehling, a Calabasas relaxation consultant. On her list: relaxation breathing, stretching, acupressure, tension release and visualization. "When children learn how to relax, they learn how to help themselves feel better whenever they are stressed," says Mehling, creator of "Magic Island," an audio relaxation tape for youngsters age 5 and older. (To order, call (800) 227-RELAX.)