Helping Kids Self-Regulate During the Holidays

School break, seeing family we might only see once a year, staying up late, presents, travel, holiday events, new experiences, and did I say… presents!

That is a lot of energy and emotion to manage.

And kids are still in the process of learning self-regulation skills

The holiday season can lead to more meltdowns, anxiety, power struggles, and bouncing-off-the-walls high energy.

“It (self-regulation) is a set of skills that enables children, as they mature, to direct their own behavior towards a goal, despite the unpredictability of the world and our own emotions.” – Child Mind Institute

So, what are some ways we can help kids self-regulate during the holidays?

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When Kids Need to Have the Last Word

When Kids Need to Get the Last Word

Recently I’ve been having conversations with kids about the need to have THE LAST WORD in a discussion.

And honestly, they don’t like Last Word-itis any more than we do.

They simply get stuck in the back and forth.

It feels SO important to get that last word in as a way of proving that the other person hasn’t won.

Kids shared that NOT getting the last word feels like…

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Letting Go Of Perfectionism

Letting Go Of Perfectionism

“Put a mark next to your name, Kim.”


It was 5th grade and I was out of my seat using the pencil sharpener attached to the wall. (It was the 80’s, ya’ll.)

Our classroom behavior management system consisted of a large piece of paper hung on the wall listing all of our names. If someone got in trouble, they had to walk over to that paper and draw a dot next to their name.

When I heard my name called, I was horrified, so much so that I remember this incident 38 years later. I had no idea I wasn’t supposed to be out of my seat at that time. It was a simple mistake, an oops. It could’ve been no big deal, but it wasn’t.

I worked very hard to avoid making mistakes. I spent my school days performing, perfecting, and pleasing to avoid being ostracized, judged, or negatively in the spotlight.

I was sensitive to my teacher’s correction, to feeling stupid because I messed up, and to being called out in front of my classmates. I felt deeply ashamed.

In that moment, Perfectionism grabbed my hand and squeezed even tighter than before, “I’ll protect you from this yucky feeling. Just avoid everything I warn you about and this will never happen to you again.”

What I didn’t know then that I do know now is Perfectionism lies.

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