Helping kids cope with holiday restrictions

Comforting a child
Comforting a child (Cleveland Clinic News Service)

The holiday season looks and feels different this year, which could be hard on your kids. They may not get to do traditional activities or see their cousins from out of town. So how do you help them cope?

“It’s almost like a mourning or a loss that they’re feeling,” said Gina Robinson, a pediatrician with Cleveland Clinic Children’s. “We don’t want to make them feel like those feelings aren’t valid, but we also don’t want them to wallow in them or kind of get stuck in them.”

Robinson said while it can be helpful to talk to kids about their feelings, parents should also find some other fun activities for them to do instead. For example – you could decorate cookies or do a virtual New Year’s Eve with friends and family. S

he said it’s also important to keep an eye on any changes in your child’s behavior, which could signal that something is wrong.

“If you notice that they’re spending more time in their room, or they seem down, or their personalities are different, just say, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ or ask them if they’ve been talking to their friends, or if they have any ideas of things that they’d like to do,” Robinson said.

She added that you can also use the pandemic as a teaching opportunity about being resilient and reminding kids that sometimes things don’t go as planned.