December is here and with it all the fun that holidays bring. It’s also a time of family and friend get-togethers, final exams, and college application deadlines. These along with colder weather and shorter daylight hours might leave your Girl Scout feeling blue or anxious. Check out the following five ideas to bring a little more harmony to their holiday.
Get outside. Days are shorter and getting colder, but fresh air and exercise is good for physical and mental wellbeing. Get details here on activities happening this winter with Girl Scouts. Take part in the Oakland Cemetery scavenger hunt or register for a Girl Scout weekend at either Camp Meriwether or Camp Misty Mountain. Girl Scouts can enjoy winter trail riding or even a wellness weekend of yoga, hiking, and journaling. Need something closer to home? Go for an evening walk in the neighborhood and enjoy holiday light displays or snuggle down with some blankets and stargaze. You might catch a glimpse of the Geminid Meteor Shower activity on December 13/14.
No forced hugs. Family events can be fun but steer clear of telling your Girl Scout to hug others. From an early age, kids need to understand they are in control of their bodies. If they are uncomfortable hugging Uncle Dan or Aunt Sarah, don’t force it. Talk with your Girl Scout ahead of time about how they like to greet others: shaking hands, a high five, or maybe a wave. If an adult relative says something like “Come here and give me a hug” redirect with a “We are doing handshakes now.” Don’t back down but also don’t make it a big deal or your Girl Scout may feel embarrassed. Read the GSUSA blog post on no forced hugs for more information.
Limit College Talk. As stressful as you find the process, your child is feeling it even more. Adults mean well when they ask teens questions like “Where did you apply” or “Have you gotten in?” The reality might be the teen wasn’t accepted or is waitlisted to their top choice, maybe their college decision is based on whether or not financial aid comes through or maybe they aren’t sure if their post-high school plans include college. At holiday gatherings, head off stress-inducing questions by letting friends and family know it’s a long process and the family should know something in the next few months.
Lend a helping hand. Studies indicate helping others makes us feel good about ourselves. December is a perfect time to work on a community project. Check out the Girl Scouts Give Back National Service Project activities here. They include sending greeting cards to seniors in nursing homes and assisted living facilities and ideas on conducting a neighborhood food drive. Earn the Girl Scout Gives Back patch either as a troop or an individual. Your Girl Scout can keep her acts of kindness even closer to home by volunteering to bring in a neighbor-in-need’s garbage cans on trash pick-up day or helping our feathered friends by making a peanut butter pinecone bird feeder. Here’s a Girl Scout video guide to help you get started.
Don’t overschedule. There’s lots to see and do during school holidays, but being constantly in the car and on the go can raise anxiety in some kids. Check-in with your Girl Scout to see how they are feeling and be willing to scale back plans, if necessary. Staying home and reading a good book, playing with a family pet, listening to music, or even taking a nap may be something your child needs to decompress.
Here’s to the final stretch of 2023! From all of us at Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, we send our best for a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season.
*NOTE: These suggestions do not take the place of medical advice. If your child is exhibiting signs of depression and anxiety, please speak with your family physician and/or a school counselor.