Monday, December 13, 2010
When Your Child is Sick During the Holiday- tips to lessen the stress
1. Forget about a to-do list. You can only do so much and when your child is ill, that is the top of the list. Give yourself permission to decorate less, bake less, go fewer places, accept fewer invitations, volunteer less, give fewer gifts, and simplify your holiday this year.
2. Stay in the moment. If that means a Cat Scan, blood tests, or holding a puke bag so be it. If you are blessed to have healthy kids over the holidays, be grateful and enjoy each moment. Still follow the tips listed above, and enjoy the tasks you do have time and energy for. Make those activities the ones that mean the most to you and your children.
3. Shop less. Shopping less doesn't mean you necessarily give less, but hopefully it means you spend less. Choose one meaningful gift rather than several especially if you have a child who is ill. Parents seem to think that buying more for the child or the siblings may make up for the fact there is an illness hanging over everyone. It doesn't work that way and after the holiday, the debt will only add to your stress. Have your kids make a list with 1-3 things on it that are really important to them. Go from there.
4. Store bought cookies and fudge don't taste the same as homemade, however, most are quite edible. Have fruit, cheese, and crackers on hand for an easy snack or unexpected guests. And take advantage of friends who want to do something by asking them to bake a batch of your kids favorite cookies if you are tied up with a sick child. Most friends would be thrilled to be asked. And don't forget the grandparents... we always want to help in an important way. Providing meals or baked goods during the holidays while a child is ill can be very meaningful to the person being asked.
5. Take time for rest. Resting, showering, watching a good holiday movie with the family, even taking time to read a good book can lessen your stress during the holiday. Soak up as much family time as you can without running errands, going to parties, or attending events that really are not important.
6. Take one day at a time. Don't waste time worrying about what you can't do or what doesn't get done. Enjoying a simple holiday celebration can be much more meaningful during the time of a child's illness and will lessen the stress.
When a child is terminally ill during the holiday it is even more stressful. As a nurse, I have seen all too often that a child actually gets worse during the holiday and everyone questions why this is happening. I can't answer the whys and why nots. I can only say that families that choose to make the time important with simple celebrations and will let go of what they may have always done, do seem to have less stress and less regrets after the holiday.
Please let me know of any prayer needs you or someone you know may need during this time of year. I would be glad to pray, offer encouragement, and help to find resources if I can. Blessings to all as the season approaches and remember to take care of yourself.