2017 Holiday Gift Guide for Families with Depression & Anxiety

I love Christmas. Yes, presents and gifts are wonderful, but I love the closeness of family, the yearly traditions, and of course, the food!

We have a few traditions that we follow each year. First, we watch all of The Santa Clause movies, usually after Thanksgiving. This year we started on November 1. Second, we always decorate Christmas cookies. This year we’re talking about making small gingerbread houses too with vanilla frosting and graham crackers. I have 2 teenagers and an 8-year-old in the home and we still enjoy these traditions. I’d be doing these things even if my kids weren’t here. 😉

This year I also want to begin a tradition of bringing to you a Holiday Gift Guide, geared towards families who live with the challenges of mental wellness and special needs. If you have any ideas you would add to the list feel free to do so. Leave a comment below or share on my Facebook page or in the group, Choosing JOY.

(This post contains affiliate links. For details see our full disclosure here.)

Stocking Stuffers for Kids

Many of these items have been helpful for my kiddos with ADHD and Autism. All of my kids enjoy Mad Libs and Therapy Putty. These are both great items to have with you on a long car ride. We also stock these items in my son’s backpack for church or when we go visit family and friends.

 

 

Gift Ideas for Kids

Our family loves playing board games and my youngest plays with play-doh, kinetic sand, and has used playfoam in his occupational therapy appointments. The Action Bible is great for kids, as it’s written in comic book form. We purchased our son his own Kindle Fire, along with the Kindle Freetime package. It’s free for the first month and then you pay a subscription price each month after that. Believe me, it’s worth it!

 

 

 

Gift Ideas for Moms & Teen Girls

The gifts featured here are meant to help you and your family relax and de-stress. I highly recommend the 2 books – Jesus is Calling and Battlefield of the Mind. We also use essential oils in our home to help create a peaceful atmosphere. My youngest teen daughter loves her sound machine, which helps her sleep at night. Many of you know that I display positive quotes and Bible verses in my home as a way to combat my own depression. And who doesn’t like to color? My oldest teenage daughter enjoys coloring, just like my son does.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Free Tools to Help Calm Your Angry or Anxious Child

10 Free Tools to Help Calm Your Angry or Anxious Child

 

Last week in my group, Choosing JOY, I held a Facebook LIVE where I talked about how to handle anxiety in your home. (To view this video, click the link here.) I mentioned in that video that I would share the top tools we use in our home to deal with anxiety and anger. When you have a child who can explode at any minute, it’s a huge help to have a list of tools at your disposal.

Pray with Your Child

This is not only helpful for your child but for you as a parent as well. 🙂

Take a Bubble Bath 

This works wonders for our middle child.

Pet a Dog or Hold a Cat

By far this method works the best for our son with ADHD and Autism. It’s a great distraction for him, and our 65-pound black lab is A-MAZING with our kids.

Rip Up Paper

This is another great tool for my son.

Punch a Pillow or a Bed

Our oldest child who is now a teenager uses this method when she’s angry or upset. She’s our neurotypical child who can get easily frustrated with her special needs siblings.

Weighted Blankets & Pillows

Although you can purchase these, and they can be expensive, what we do in our home is use what we have. My husband will take a few heavy blankets and all of the pillows on our couch and pile them up on top of our son. He loves this, especially while he’s playing on the iPad.

Call a Friend

Our middle child does this when she’s anxious. Not necessarily to talk about the issue that’s causing anxiety but just to chat with a friend.

These last three methods we’ve used with success in our home as well. These are probably more for younger children than older ones.

Calm Down Bin

Calm Down Yoga

Belly Breathing

For a comprehensive list of methods and tools to use in your own home, download the free guide, “51 Ways to Calm Down Your Angry or Anxious Child” by clicking on the image below.

 

51 Ways to Calm an Anxious or Angry Child

 

 

 

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/119134352618824558/

10 Free Tools to Help Calm Your Angry or Anxious Child

 

 

A Prayer of Hope When Your Child Struggles with Anxiety

 

By Samantha McDonald, Living With Real Joy

Have you ever felt so overwhelmed that you’re not sure if you want to scream and cry and throw a tantrum, or if you want to get in bed, pull the blankets over your head, and hide there for as long as possible?

When someone in your home struggles with an illness, physical or mental, it affects the entire house. Any of you reading this right now who have chronic illness in your home know exactly what I’m talking about. As a parent, trying to find the balance between disciplining disobedience and offering grace is very difficult, especially when you have a child with a mental or emotional condition.

The hardest part of all of this is to see how it affects our other children. We’ve spoken a lot about grace and forgiveness in our home, but it’s difficult for adults to understand this at times, let alone a child or a teenager.

I would like to share one particular experience with you that has given me hope.

One evening our middle was having a heck of a time with her anxieties. I’m talking a major panic attack where I thought she was going to pass out from hyperventilating. After trying to talk with her and calm her down I said,

By Samantha McDonald, Living With Real Joy“You know what? Let’s pray. These things you’re saying are lies from Satan, and God does not believe these at all. He doesn’t want you to feel like this so let’s ask Him for help.”

I prayed and she calmed down for the rest of the evening.

I believe God answered our prayers that night. It’s amazing what happens when we simply ask Him for help. This was only something He could have done. I had no way of breaking through the disorder and confusion that she was listening to inside of her head.

This week, when you’re having a tough time, stop and pray. And don’t wait all day long like I did. Pray right there wherever you are. Even if God does not answer your prayer the way you’d like, being in His presence is enough to calm your spirit and give you peace when all else around you is chaos.

Trust me, I know.  🙂

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Daily Routines for Your ADHD Family

Daily Routines for your ADHD FamilyLast week I talked about how to create a back to school routine for your family.

Now this just doesn’t apply to your kids. This applies to you as well.

My husband has told me time and time again that I do my best work, have the best attitude, and become overwhelmed a lot less often when I make a routine for myself and stick to it.

I’m very good at creating routines and schedules. Oh I could spend all day crafting charts, finding cute images to correlate with each task, and displaying them so neatly on my refrigerator. My problem comes with the follow-through. My personality despises doing anything wrong or pretty much “not perfect” in my eyes. I freeze when I can’t or don’t know how to start something just the right way.  Read More