Helping your kids and students deal with holiday stress

Counseling, Holidays / /

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While holiday time is full of joy and fun– it can also be stressful for kids, parents, teachers and schools.

School counselor Malene Dixon from KIPP Sunnyside High School takes time to share quick tips.

Check out these questions parents can use to ask their kids about their day.

As counselors we tend to notice something around winter and holiday times –  an increase in the number of our students who are stressed, depressed, anxious, and struggling to cope with everyday life. Mid-term exams and the holidays can lead students to have stress levels that are even higher than usual.

For parents, teachers, and youth workers this is a great time to check in with your kids even more than usual to find out how they are feeling. Teenagers especially may not be open to sharing many of the details of their lives with you so here are a few suggested conversation starters:

  • What was the best thing that happened at school today?  (What was the worst thing that happened at school today?)
  • What is one thing you wish you could change about your day?
  • What did you do during lunch today? What did you eat for lunch? Who did you eat lunch with?
  • Tell me something that made you laugh today.

While mid-term and test time can be stressful we also know that our students can navigate challenges and hard things.  We do want to support them so here are a few tips to help your child prepare for their upcoming mid-term exams:


  • Be well rested. Get a good night’s sleep at least two nights before the exam.
  • Use positive self talk and have a positive attitude about the exam: “I can do this. I got this.”
  • Go to tutorials and study sessions before the exam.
  • Eat a healthy meal before the exam.
  • Take your time.

And remember – though many people think of the money they need to spend during the holidays…the top thing you can spend for your kids during the holidays is time…spending time with them is the most valuable. Sing some favorite songs together, watch a holiday favorite movie together, cook food together.

Excited to see everyone refreshed in the New Year.