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Holiday safety tips for kids
By Zaakirah Mohamed
Educational Psychologist

Holidays are usually meant for de-stressing, a time for bonding with the family and usually filled with fun. What this essentially means is there is high pressure due to high expectations. At times this often causes more stress and more families seek therapy after the holiday is over. How many times have we heard or said "I need a holiday from that holiday."

A good way to deal with the undue stress is for you to be realistic.A good way to do this is  by setting the expectations with your child. Do your research about your destination to reduce anxiety and help you with your expectations. Your research will also inform your packing. The key to setting the expectations is communication and honesty. Be open with your children if there are any financial constraints.
At times the holiday may not go as expected; for instance bad weather may be the obstacle of the day's plans. This  is where you can keep things in perspective. Do not make it bigger than it is. Take entertainment in case of unexpected delays and examples of this can be board games and books; keeping in mind that everyone has different taste. Yes, the holiday is an ideal way of reconnecting with your family but bear in mind that at times the children do need their own space.

Parents feel the pressure of wanting to make the holiday  perfect that they can become so rigid about the plans. The idea is to lighten up and be flexible. A great holiday is built on compromise. Have turns choosing what to do for the day.
However, one thing that parents should never lighten up about is safety. At times parents tend to be relaxed about the safety. This may be due to the fact that the parent feels that the area is safer than home. Never assume this, safety always comes first!!! Always make sure the kids are in a secure place with trustable adults around. Make sure that you are easy to reach in case if emergencies. In addition, have a back up plan; for example if you get separated from one another what should be done.  A simple thing like making sure the children put on their sunscreen is essential. If they are going into the beach, make sure they know to stay in zones where there are lifeguards. These rules can be talked about before the holidays and reinforced during the holidays.
In terms of food, most instances children are allowed to eat more processed foods and sugar. What this means is they are more active, less focused and this can be a contributor to their bad moods. Parents become agitated and frustrated. In addition, it may become a struggle to get them to eat healthy after the holiday is over. Thus it is always a good idea to incorporate those healthy foods. Get them to drink plenty of water to keep hydrated.
Lastly, be safe, enjoy and make those memories!
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