Holiday Stress Busters for the Family

Holiday Stress Busters - Christmas TreeWe love the holiday season, but not the stress associated with it! Children are incredibly sensitive and pick up on our stress, even if we try to hide it. To help your child and you cope with holiday stress, set aside some time to enjoy some of these activities together…

  • Playing games combines two of your child’s favorite things: playing and attention from you. The giggles and lighthearted fun can recharge your batteries and help relieve stress too.
  • Cooking can be a productive way for you and your child to bond and relive stress. Kneading bread dough, tenderizing meat with a mallet and stirring up cookie dough are great way to release tension. Plus the aromas of baking and pleasure of tasting create memories that will last for years.
  • Joking and laughing are a no-fail way to dissolve stress. Being silly and goofing around with your child helps put problems into perspective. Humor and silliness can energize your family year-round.
  • Sleeping enough is especially important during times of stress – for adults as well as children. Making sure everyone gets enough sleep promotes both emotional and physical health. If you’re tired, dealing with holiday preparations on top of the usual daily stressors can be overwhelming.
  • Taking out frustration by mixing up and manipulating play dough can be a great way to relieve stress. Try the recipe below!


Holiday Stress Busters - Christmas Tree

Holiday Stress Relieving Play Dough

This play dough is made with edible ingredients so it’s safe for very young children.

Caution: Children should always be supervised when playing with play dough because it can be a choking hazard if the child bites off a piece of it. Extra supervision is needed if you make a variation that includes inedible ingredients.


  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • food coloring


  1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt and cream of tartar. Add the vegetable oil but don’t mix in.
  2. Add food coloring to the boiling water, the pour into the bowl with the flour mixture. Stir thoroughly.
  3. When the mixture is combined, turn out onto a flat surface and knead about five minutes or until smooth.
  4. Keep stored in a ziplock baggie or covered container for weeks.


  • Scent the play dough by adding cooking extracts or spices. Peppermint or gingerbread are particularly nice for the holiday season.
  • Instead of food coloring, add a package of unsweetened Kool-Aid to the flour mixture before adding the water to color and scent the play dough.
  • Essential oils can also be used to scent the play dough. Lavender is a calming scent.
  • Knead glitter, confetti, or cut up tinsel into the play dough for extra holiday sparkle.
  • Knead oatmeal, cornmeal, or sand into the play dough for a different texture.

More Holiday Stress Busters

What are YOUR favorite holiday stress busting ideas? Taking a bubble bath? Going for a run? Post your favorites in the comments section below!

Amy Sue

One Comment

  1. Play dough as a stress reliever is an awesome tip!

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