Helping Kids Understand A Socially Distanced Holiday Season

5. Manage expectations

Make sure you explain exactly what your children can expect this holiday season. You might say, “This year will be different. No, grandma won’t be here for Thanksgiving, but we will Zoom call while we’re eating dinner so you can see her.”

6. Understand this situation is temporary

Assure your young children that, although the pandemic feels like it will last forever, one day our lives will change and we will be able to routinely visit our loved ones again. The world is a scary place for little ones, especially since they don’t have much understanding about what will happen in their lives. Try to give them information so they feel less fearful and more in control of their situation and their feelings.

7. Create new holiday traditions 

Discuss the opportunity to make some positive changes to our new normal. Ask your children for suggestions. Slow down, play games, read books, cook together. Find new ways to connect and play together as a family.

Finally, the upcoming holidays are an opportunity to have important conversations and to create a different, memorable celebration. Try to emphasize the positive in this unique experience. If you are successful, you may discover that you’ve not only created healthier ways of relating to your young children, but you also have a whole new set of rituals your family will enjoy after the pandemic is long gone.

Fern Schumer Chapman
Fern Schumer Chapman
Chicago-based writer Fern Schumer Chapman has written several award-winning books. Her memoir, Motherland, is a popular choice for book clubs. Her latest picture book, Happy Harper Thursdays: A Grandmother's Love for Her Granddaughter during the Coronavirus, explains family separation to children. Her other works, Is It Night or Day?, Like Finding My Twin, Stumbling on History, and Three Stars in the Night Sky are used in middle and high school classrooms.

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