Helping Kids Understand a Socially Distant Holiday Season

Coronavirus Impacting Iowa

IOWA – While some will choose to travel to see loved ones this Thanksgiving, others will stay home and celebrate the holiday differently. If you have kids, they may be having trouble processing these changes.

For many children this year, memories can’t be made with loved ones having to stay socially distant because of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s an emotional situation and one that’s important to talk through with your children or grandchildren.

Fern Schumer Chapman is a grandmother who wrote a book about not being able to see her granddaughter during this pandemic. It’s called “Happy Harper Thursdays” and explains the tough situation we are in for kids to understand.

Schumer Chapman says with the book or not, there are ways to help manage your kids’ emotional reactions.

First, you have to start the conversation and cater it to their age or developmental stage. Then validate their emotions. 

“Number one, this is not going to go on forever,” Schumer Chapman said, “and actually the happy news is we see vaccines coming on online, and our lives will change. I think children in particular feel like whatever is happening to them right this second will always be as it is, and that’s not the case. It’s really important to understand that this is temporary, and I think that’s true for all of us.”

Schumer Chapman also advises to welcome questions and answer them honestly. Next, manage expectations. Schumer Chapman says letting kids know ahead of time that the holidays will look different will give them time to process.

Finally, create new traditions. While baking cookies with grandma might not happen, finding something new and positive can help.

“Well, the world is a very scary place for children that have very little control over what happens to them, and they don’t understand what’s happening to them,” Schumer Chapman said. “And so if you can acknowledge their feelings and begin to help them manage those scary emotions, I think that you set them on a path for life where they’re not afraid of their own emotions.”

Click here to get a copy of Schumer Chapman’s book “Happy Harper Thursdays.”

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