For many families, this holiday season is shaping up to be unlike anything we’ve experienced before. With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to force people to keep their distance, there’s a good chance that you may not be spending Christmas as you typically would. Perhaps you’ll be staying home instead of visiting with relatives as you usually would. These changes can be particularly tough on young children, but there are ways you can help them cope with the changes.
Instead of telling your child that you’re waiting to see how things will work out, start making plans now. Having a plan in advance can allow your child to feel more secure and give them time to accept the changes and ask any questions they may have can ease their worries.
Give your children a voice. Let them tell you what they’re feeling this holiday season, and let them have some say in your plans. It’s important to let them know that it’s okay to be disappointed that you won’t be traveling or gathering with family. This is an excellent opportunity for adults to model how to cope with disappointment.
This is an excellent time to focus on what you can do this year that maybe you haven’t been able to do in the past. Explain to your child that even though the way you celebrate this year may be different, different doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your time together. You may not be able to see your extended family or go on a trip this holiday season, but you can find new games to play and other ways to celebrate the holidays. You can encourage your child to write letters or make cards for their loved ones, cook new holiday recipes, or other fun activities. You can even start new family traditions together.
By planning ahead, validating your child’s feelings, and allowing them to have a voice in the activities you plan to do, you can help your child cope with the changes in how you celebrate the holidays this year. You might even find some fun activities that become new traditions that your child will love for years to come.
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