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Handling the Holidays

October 29, 2020

As we approach the holiday season, starting this month with Halloween, we continue to find ourselves in a world of unpredictability and disappointment. It’s difficult enough for adults to navigate this hectic new reality, now imagine you are a child whose expectations abound for the upcoming festivities! In all reality, it’s likely this year’s holidays simply won’t look like they have in the past so here are some ways to help your children understand and cope with the frustrating and unexpected changes.

1. Give them a heads up. Talk to your children about how Halloween might look this year. Let them know ahead of time that you won’t be going to grandma’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. Children are often much more resilient than we give them credit for, so be honest and let them know when you know so they don’t spend weeks anticipating the event only to be disappointed the day before.

2. Come up with a Plan B- together. If your plans are up in the air, be sure your children know this. Take this as an opportunity to work together on a “Plan B” just in case the original plan doesn’t end up being possible. For Halloween, consider Trick-or-Treat Hide and Seek! Stash candy around your home and have your children dress up in their costume to find all the goodies you’ve hidden. For Thanksgiving, maybe you can plan to try cook some of your favorites together. This is a great bonding experience for children and parents and a great way to make the best of the situation.

3. Validate their feelings. You remember being a child, getting so excited for the holidays. This year your children may not get the excitement they’ve been looking forward to, so be sure they know it’s okay to be sad about it. It’s okay to feel frustrated. While you’re at it, remind yourself of this too!

These continue to be unprecedented times. While many of us have returned to some sense of normalcy, our children are still dealing with the ramifications of growing up in a pandemic and missing out on some of the things they most look forward to. This does not mean we have to end 2020, the year of chaos, with complete uncertainty. Set aside time to be with your children and help them understand what they can about how things are now and be sure to appreciate the excitement and magic that can still exist, especially around the holidays.


About the Author: Kaitlin Busch, MA, CCC-SLP is a Speech-Language Pathologist at BRAINS in Grand Rapids, Michigan. For over 5 years, she has been working with children and young adults to improve their communication skills. Kaitlin has been drawn to complex diagnostic and treatment cases, working with other disciplines to better understand each underlying communication challenge. Kaitlin has experience providing treatment with individuals and groups, focusing on building off each patient’s unique strengths. Prior to working at BRAINS, Kaitlin provided speech and language therapy in several school districts. Learn more about Kaitlin here.