• Deirdre Brandner

Coping With A COVID Christmas

Christmas is looking very different this year, with the last-minute cancellation of plans and not everyone being at our table.

Here are some tips:

Acknowledge that disappointment is a difficult feeling to navigate for everyone. Be mindful that there might be lots of negative emotions that we are managing for ourselves, children, and other family members

Parents may feel guilty that we are not able to provide the usual Christmas experience for our families. Knowing that this is beyond your control is very important.

Important to acknowledge the feelings of grief and loss:

Decide whether you are going to try and have the same celebrations this year or do things differently…..which can be okay.

Families are experiencing financial distress and parents feeling guilty about being able to buy the usual gifts. Have honest conversations about this. You should not apologise to others for not having the money to spend.

Some parents want to compensate for the challenging year their child has had or the disappointment of Christmas feeling different. The answer is not buying more presents. It is about recognising the triumphs of the year and how well we have coped.

If plans are cancelled, focus on what you are going to do instead of what you are missing out on. We can still use technology to connect on Christmas Day and we need to. Consider that these new traditions might be okay or even better.

Prepare as a family to make adjustments that can still have positive outcomes.

Remember children will mimic parent reactions. We need to acknowledge our feelings but also model problem-solving. “this is what we are doing “ instead of “it won't be the same”. Remember different doesn’t have to be negative. When things feel out of control focus on what you love that is right there in front of you.

Author: Deirdre Brandner, child & adolescent Psychologist for 30 years ,

DipT (Primary) BA (Soc Sci) Grad Dip Child & Adol Psych., MPsychEd (MAPS)

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