Kids' mental health expert says 'less is more' during the holidays
VANCOUVER -- The holiday season is here, and for kids, the difference in how we celebrate this year may be hard to understand.
“Kids might be disappointed to not go on vacation and see grandparents,” said Dr. Ashley Miller, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at BC Children’s Hospital.
“We want parents to really take comfort that this Christmas, less is more, and no one can ruin the holidays.”
Miller’s advice is to keep things simple, spend plenty of time outside and talk to kids and teens about their feelings.
“If we try to pretend everything is perfect and want everyone to be happy, we’re just going to be more miserable,” Miller said. “Embrace mixed feelings. Let kids talk about what’s upsetting them.”
She also recommends parents ask their children what they would like to do to celebrate.
“Maybe they don’t want to do Zoom meetings with grandma, but maybe they would like to package up food for the food bank,” she said.
She adds spending more money isn’t likely to make kids happier because they may instead enjoy things like decorating, crafting and playing outside more.
Miller also said BC Children’s Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre is available to provide guidance, and young people ages 12 to 24 and their parents can visit www.foundrybc.ca.
Crisis lines and emergency rooms are also staffed 24-7 during the holidays.