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Helping kids deal with holiday changes

Posted at 7:05 AM, Nov 24, 2020

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — As the holidays quickly approach, they might look a bit different than in years past. and as the next few weeks unfold, parents should expect that children may show increased signs of frustration or sadness.

But child phycologist Dr. Nicole Beurkens offered up some ways to help navigate those big emotions. She said a lot of kids, even those who usually don’t, are experiencing boredom, anxiousness, and hyperactivity due to all the uncertainty.

Dr. Beurkens says it's important to acknowledge and accept whatever feelings young people express right now, empathize with them, and then switch to a problem-solving mode to help them picture what the holidays can still look like.

Some phrases than can help:

  • This is a chance for us to start some new traditions.
  • Instead of doing X, we can try Y.
  • Let’s make a list of ways we can make this year special.
  • What’s something you think would be fun for this holiday, but we’ve never had time to do before?

Dr. Beurkens also suggests some structured holiday-themed activities that help relieve some of that pent up stress, anxiety, and energy.

To see that full list click here.

Related: Teens could be feeling pandemic-related stress. Here's how parents can help