“Tis the season to be jolly” or so the song goes.
For many, the holidays look very different this year. In my family, we are not traveling to see our daughter and our loving parents have just recently passed. These Christmas holidays are forever different due to this passing and the impact of Covid-19. My daughter is pretty sad about it and so are we.
What lesson has this taught me?
If you see your children are feeling stressed, disappointed, sad, or lonely, the most important thing you can do is to make space for their feelings.
In fact, for our children to grow emotionally healthy, they need to know two things:
1. ALL their feelings are valid and accepted. It’s okay to be not okay.
2. Feelings come and feelings go, they are temporary.
So when a child feels extra sad or even angry when things don't go as they want to, I say:
“It's okay to feel this way. We all get sad sometimes and it passes. You can think of your strong feelings as thunderstorms and sad feelings as clouds. Thunderstorms can be loud and scary but they pass. Once thunderstorms and clouds pass, the sun comes out again, and you feel better.”
This visual works pretty well for most children and they can understand that it's okay to feel sad and the sadness will pass.
Remember that when children are expressing a feeling, it’s not a behavior that we need to control or fix.
The way to encourage emotional awareness and self-regulation is to hold space for all kinds of feelings.
Of course, to be there when they need you and catch them if they fall.
I hope if you celebrate Christmas that it is a joyous family time and if separated through Covid-19 from loved ones you can connect virtually.
Happy Holidays from the Counselor’s Hub and see you in 2021.
Should you have any concerns, please contact School Counselor Ken at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 0106432-8228 ext. 859