Devereux
Leading National Behavioral Healthcare Provider

Call 1-800-345-1292


Tweet Share on LinkedIn Send email Print

Looking beyond gifts: Helping your child manage expectations during the holidays

By Susan Damico – Assistant Director of the Devereux Center for Resilient Children  

For many, the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, but all the excitement, stimulation and expectation can take a toll on children and their parents.  

Taking a few moments each day to teach our children about generosity, gratitude and resilience may help prevent any disruption or letdown that can wreak havoc during what should be a fun and joyous time for families. 

A primary source of happiness and stress during the holidays is exchanging gifts with loved ones, especially children. All parents want to see their child’s face light up when opening presents but, often, it can feel like gifts become the star of the show, instead of playing a supporting role. One way to make sure presents don’t steal the spotlight is to help your child focus on generosity and gratitude. A few tips include: 

  • Making time to be thankful: Teaching children to cherish what they already have will help them gain strength and happiness from their everyday surroundings. In addition to writing a letter to Santa, ask your child to write down what they are thankful for this year (and every year). 
  • Setting limits and managing expectations: Remind your children that they may not always get everything that they want – and that’s okay. If your child becomes upset, be patient. Learning to cope with disappointment takes time.  
  • Being a role model: Children learn through our example, so it is important to be a model of gratitude and generosity when it comes to gifts and acts of kindness. When your children demonstrate healthy social and emotional behaviors, encourage and reward them through positive reinforcement. Thank a child for cleaning up after dinner, for patiently listening to a family member’s story without interrupting or for completing a chore without being asked. 
  • Giving back: It is never too late to start thinking about your family’s involvement in charity. Encourage your children to give back by: 1) donating toys and books they no longer use, or clothes they have grown out of, and 2) purchasing a new gift for a family in need. When it comes to toys and books, ask your child to pick out items they are comfortable giving away; explain how sharing will make another child happy. And remember that younger children may have a hard time giving up toys, so be patient and remember that no act of kindness is too small! 
  • Talking about good intentions: Sometimes, a child may not love a gift he or she receives from a family member (hey, it happens, right?). This is an excellent, teachable moment to talk about the intention behind gifts. For example, “Grandma gave you that teddy bear because she loves you and thought it was something you would like to play with when she’s not with you.”  

Building resilience to reduce stress

During the holiday season, it’s also important to be mindful of other stress factors that could affect your child. If you notice unusual or out-of-character behaviors, this could simply be the result of overstimulation from events, activities and school obligations.  

When planning parties, family gatherings and school recitals, schedule down time to be together and reflect. Use this time to help your child relax and decompress: practice self-calming techniques like listening to soothing music, reading a book or practicing deep breathing – and remember to laugh.  

Children who are relaxed and emotionally centered have more control over their behaviors. Taking time this hectic holiday season to help your children develop social and emotional skills will enable them to feel good about themselves, feel connected to others, believe their actions can make a positive difference and, ultimately, are more likely to be happy.    

Latest News

  Nearly 300 attend N.Y. screening of Oscar-nominated movie Life, Animated

Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health’s special screening of the movie Life, Animated was presented to a near sell-out crowd on February 13 in Pelham, N.Y. The event, held in partnership with The Picture House, was followed by a Q&A session with Ron and Cornelia Suskind, the parents featured in the film.

  How Art and a Zoo Help Students with Differences Learn Positive and Healing Behaviors

When working to improve educational outcomes for students with learning differences, it is essential to focus on cultivating behaviors that will equip each student to reach his or her true potential. At Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health’s Leo Kanner Learning Center, creative forms of learning are taking center stage when it comes to building confidence, generating positive behaviors and putting children with differences on a level playing field.

  New Social Enterprise Aperture Education Focuses on Students’ Social and Emotional Competence

Assessment company Apperson, Inc., and the Devereux Center for Resilient Children a prevention-focused service of the nonprofit organization Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health today announced the launch of a new company, Aperture Education, that provides strength-based assessments and resilience-building resources to help schools and out-of-school-time organizations address the whole child.

  Devereux leaders featured in FFTA newsletter; share insight into launching a rebrand

Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health leaders Senior Vice President of External Affairs Leah Yaw and Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Carl Clark were featured in a recent issue of the Family Focused Treatment Association’s newsletter - FOCUS. The topic: launching an organizational rebrand.

  Dr. Barry McCurdy elected to APBS Board of Directors

Devereux Center for Effective Schools Director Dr. Barry McCurdy was recently appointed to the Association for Positive Behavior Support (APBS) Board of Directors. Dr. McCurdy was elected by his peers to serve a three-year term (2017-2020).


Looking beyond gifts: Helping your
child manage expectations during
the holidays -
December 13, 2016
 
Lisa Thomas wins ‘Ted Carr Early
Career Practitioner Award’
-
December 1, 2016
 
Research shows FLIP IT® is an effective
parent training tool in Ohio
-
November 29, 2016

Giving thanks: Celebrating
Thanksgiving with Your Child
with Autism -
November 10, 2016
 
U.K. group leverages Devereux
assessment tool to help youth build
resilience -
November 9, 2016
 
Benoit presented with BEST Kids
2016 'Founder's Award'
-
October 28, 2016

Tips and Tricks for a Safe and Sweet
Halloween with your Child with
Autism -
October 13, 2016
 
Tips to help kids develop grit for
school -
October 10, 2016
 
First State students with autism
receive more supports
-
October, 2016

Issues Families Face: Don't Divorce
Your Kids -
September 28, 2016
 
Building Resilience in Children
-
August 9, 2016
 
What Olympic Athletes Can Teach
Us About Autism -
August 8, 2016

What can 'Finding Dory' teach us?
-
June 29, 2016
 
Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health
in Rutland graduates largest class to
date -
June 16, 2016
 
Spotlight on Devereux's Olympic
Hopeful Kaylon Eppinger
-
June 15, 2016

Yolanda Graham, MD, Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Georgia's Medical Director, named the Cobb Executive Women's "2016 Woman of Distinction" - May 2, 2016
 
LEADING THE INDUSTRY: Devereux Unveils New Name and Expanded Brand Promise Aimed to Drive the Future of Behavioral Healthcare, End Stigma - April 21, 2016
 
Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Arizona’s Michele Bishop Named President-Elect of 4 Corners Association for Behavior Analysis - April 18, 2016

Devereux SVP and Chief Medical & Clinical Officer, Dr. Marilyn Benoit, responds to New York Times Opinion, “Don’t Grade Schools on Grit.” - March 28, 2016
 
Paul LeBuffe, Director of DCRC, who was selected by AERA to serve as Program Chair of an AERA Social and Emotional Learning Special Interest Group - April 5, 2016
 
Track star helps troubled youth get on right track - March 9, 2016

Family and Professional Partnerships Optimize Successful Transitions to Adulthood - March 28, 2016
 
A closer look at autism assessments
-
March 2, 2016
 
A closer look at autism assessments part two - March 9, 2016