yourself and the family with transition time. Plan time into the day when you all ‘chill’. Even a few minutes in a quiet place helps recharge kids and parents. Perhaps getting under the Christmas tree and gazing up though the branches at the twinkling lights and sparkling ornaments can brighten your outlook. Having some peace and solitude with your child is more important than ever during the busy holiday season. Can you find a quiet nook and read a book together, or create art? Become a good listener. Reduce your kid’s stress by learning to be a good listener. When your child wants to talk about his or her problems, sometimes the best thing we can do is simply listen and validate their feelings. It isn’t always necessary to give advice. Remember that some level of stress is normal; let your kids know that it’s OK to feel scared, angry, lonely, or anxious and that other people experience those same feelings. Your reassurance counts, so remind them that you’re confident that they can handle the situation. Get out and get moving with your kids. Fresh air and exercise are essential for lifting moods and re-charging us mentally and physically. All those endorphins counteract stress. Get out there! Walk the dog and refurbish the dog house. Bird watching is easier now that the leaves are off the trees – remember to feed them. Get bigger kids to bring in the fire wood. Mud and snow are great for looking for animal tracks. Go ice skating, or if you are lucky, snow shoeing or skiing. For the ambitious, how about winter camping? Maybe start with a winter picnic and a thermos of hot soup. shovel an elderly neighbor’s driveway, make snow angels, build an igloo. How about a snow elephant? Make a maze in the snow or a snow cave. You could go on a winter scavenger hunt, or a photo expedition. Clear winter skies are wonderful for star gazing. How nice would it be to start Christmas day with a hike in a state park, or even around the neighborhood. When your child wants to talk about his or her problems, sometimes the best thing we can do is simply listen. and validate their feelings. It isn’t always necessary to give advice.