Helping whānau plan for a stress-free holiday

Te Kupenga Hauora – Ahuriri’s Megan Wall talks through how to keep Christmas stress-free with new parents Zachan Bennett (20), Breanna Hill (17) here with their baby Kysharna Hill Bennett.

While the holidays are a time most of us look forward to, the financial hangover and associated stress can really affect whānau wellbeing.

Family Start Community Support Worker Megan Wall works with whānau providing  free support to those who are hapū or have tamariki up to 5-years-old. She has started helping them plan their holidays months ago to reduce stress, by sharing simple and effective ideas to ensure that whānau celebration is the focus of the Festive season.

Te Kupenga Hauora – Ahuriri’s Megan Wall talks through how to keep Christmas stress-free with new parents Zachan Bennett (20), Breanna Hill (17) here with their baby Kysharna Hill Bennett.

Having a plan helps. It doesn’t have to be complicated and sharing the load across the extended family is just one of the things you can do to relieve pressure. “Last year I started working with a family in September. We put together a menu and figured out which adults would bring what food for Christmas dinner,” said Megan. Together they planned out gifts and presents that they could make for very low cost. “The year prior they had blown out on spending and it had taken until February for them to pay off debt they’d incurred over the holidays. By having the plan, things this time round went much better.”

Making gifts such as painted rocks, photo calendars or making the most of free facilities such as the barbecues on Marine Parade are good ideas that families can use to plan a stress-free and enjoyable time together over the holidays.

Safety over the period where there is often increased drug and alcohol consumption can also be incorporated into these plans. Te Kupenga Hauora – Ahuriri’s Family Start service works with over 100 families locally. “We make them aware of the support services such as the Police, Women’s Refuge and others that are available. We encourage whānau to use them if they need to.”

Family Start is FREE, non-judgemental support designed around whānau to build on their strengths and see them succeed. Available for whānau who are pregnant or have tamariki under 5-year-olds. Call Te Kupenga Hauora – Ahuriri on 06 835 1840 and ask for Family Start.