The holidays can be a joyous time for family gatherings, social events, and relaxation. It can also be a stressful time, particularly for teens. Even though it’s a break from school, activities and their regular routine, there are new situations and obligations that cause holiday stress.

Setting expectations and a schedule ahead of time can help everyone. All of those parties and family obligations could be talked about in advance to manage expectations and prioritize. Negotiate over “must-do’s” and “nice-to-do’s” and maybe even say “No” to a few tasks or events to relieve the stress.

Even though school is not in session, teens may have long-term projects to work on over break. Enough time needs to be left in the family calendar for your teen to accomplish these goals. And if they are seniors, finishing up college applications is a top priority!

Being on break means being out of contact with your friends and support network. Your teen may be used to seeing them every weekday, so being without that support for a couple weeks at the holidays can be rough. Be patient with them as their use of texting, emailing, or social media may increase.

But encourage your teen to stop using electronics at least an hour before going to sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “The increasing prevalence of electronics in children’s bedrooms creates a culture of evening engagement and light exposure that negatively impacts sleep time, sleep quality and daytime alertness.”

And above all, provide time to relax! Even if it means coming home from vacation a day early or skipping a party. Relaxation is the best way to recharge and get the best out of the break. When you look at the big picture, the holiday season is a pretty short and priceless time, enjoy it!

Tizzie Mantione