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How to support your child through the changes brought on by COVID-19 this holiday season.

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

The holiday season is upon us, and I don't know about your family, but my kids are super excited!

With the holiday season looking a little different this year due to COVID-19, it doesn't mean that the holiday season will be a total disappointment. On the contrary, it could turn out to be more than we expected if we know where and how to focus our attention.

Let's dive deeper on this one, shall we?

At this time of year, many families have traditions they look forward to. While we can't necessarily fulfill all of those family traditions this year, we can still focus on many wonderful areas.

Here, I will provide powerful tips on how you can discover what exactly your child is looking forward to (aside from the presents and all those Christmas cookies, of course).

Your child may surprise you!


How to Support Your Child During a Christmas Pandemic:

Younger Children (2-8)

For our younger children, I encourage you to have them draw a picture of what they are looking forward to this Christmas. It can be as simple as asking them to draw what do you want to do this Christmas? Or, what are you looking forward to this Christmas? Or, Hey, what does Christmas look like for you? Or, draw me a picture of what you love about Christmas.

As you can see, there are so many ways in which we can ask the question. Note that asking a different question may elicit a different response from your child.

For our little ones, drawing is what brings out what they're truly feeling. Therefore I encourage you to have them draw it out. If they are not interested in drawing, have them narrate to you what to draw.

Once the picture is finished, compliment and praise something you know they have been working hard on (such as colouring within the lines or using more than once colour). From there, I would encourage you to ask them, "Tell me what is happening in this picture."

In doing so, ask them about the details. For example, 'Oh, what's going on over here? I see that there's a bunch of people, tell me about that", or "is that you in your pj's?"

By getting involved in what you see in their drawing, you create motivation for them to share it with you. You can also collect more information so that you can truly understand what your child is looking forward to this Christmas.

Older Children (9 & Up)

For families of older children, I would encourage the same process as above. The presentation and manner in which you engage with your child will look slightly different, though it will provide the same results.

You can either ask them to write down a list of things they're looking forward to this Christmas. Or, if you prefer, you can simply engage in a conversation. Making it informal is key. By asking, "Hey, Christmas is coming up, what are you really looking forward to?

Places such as during a car ride or walking the dog often feel more welcoming and less pressure on both the parent and the child. This allows for a true connection to take place.

Once we understand what our children are looking forward to, we can begin to acknowledge what we are still capable of doing, followed by advising them of what we are not capable of doing due to the pandemic.

Emotional Rollercoaster:

Once we acknowledge the changes and limitations, our children may share their frustrations and disappointments through their emotions, and that's okay!

I would encourage you not to diminish their feelings, instead allow them to share what they're feeling. This is an excellent opportunity to empathize and connect:

"I hear you, and I know that you're upset.

I'm upset too, but these are circumstances

that are out of our control and to keep

everyone safe, we need to follow the rules."

Feel free to reiterate what those rules are in your area for a COVID-19. Doing so can help your child understand why these changes to the holiday celebrations are required.

How do you move past what you can't do this Christmas?

Once we have empathized and connected with your children regarding what they're going to be missing. Moving forward, I would encourage you to focus on what you can do and redirect your attention to all the beautiful things that can still happen.

Now, this is not to say that your children will not bring up what they will be missing. Here is an example of how to navigate these situations.

"You know, I really wish I can go to Grandma and Grandpa's this year too, we might not be able to go to their house, but I'm really looking forward to that video chat that we are going to be doing with them on Christmas day."

By acknowledging and redirecting, we are always ending with the positive. What we focus on is what grows, and this is no different in this situation. Moving forward, I would encourage you to focus on what you can still do.

No matter how you decided to celebrate the holiday season this year.

I encourage you to connect with your family.

I know that there are some traditions that we are not going to be able to complete in our household this year, but there are others that we still can focus on. One that we can look forward to it is on Christmas morning. In our household, we have a tradition whereby we all stay in our PJs and watch The Polar Express. The movie selection might be a little bit different this year with our children now 14 and almost 12 years old to me.

Then again, they may just surprise me ;)

I enjoyed speaking with Josh Pringle, Digital Multi-Skilled Journalist with CTV News Ottawa​, about how we can support our children during the pandemic this holiday season.

Read the full article here:

Sylvia Corzato is a parent consultant & behaviour coach, and owner of Success in Steps. With over 20 years of experience supporting

children and their families, Sylvia provide parents with tailored support and strategies to help them understand the 'why'

behind the behaviours along with 'what' is maintaining them.

Her mission is to enable parents to be the driving force behind

reaching and maintaining their family goals.

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