Thriving at Christmas- top tips for parents!

Well, we’ve nearly made it to the end of 2020! Christmas will soon be upon us, wrapped up with all the usual emotion and expectation. In fact, is there even more pressure than normal because of the strange and scary year we’ve been through? Most parents have been trying to mitigate where they can for the disappointments and struggles faced by their children as a result of the pandemic. How many of us feel somehow that we should produce a fantastic experience over the festive season to try and make up for this?

What have we learned? Maybe that life can get in the way of our plans and that what we really need is human touch, authentic communication and a sense of safety?  Our children are just like us! What they really want and need is an ability to roll with whatever comes up, to feel loved and appreciated and to feel the safety of sharing time with loved ones. A bit of “ordinary magic”, as researcher Ann Masten describes these crucial connections, may be exactly what we need.

It’s OK for it not to be the best Christmas ever and for it not to feel like it usually does. Our children will enjoy spending time relaxing with us and connecting over shared activities even if we can’t follow our usual traditions. We can provide a welcome haven for them where there is space to just be, away from the usual routines, to bend a few rules and have some respite from the difficult time we have been through. We may find that there are new ways for us to do things if we allow ourselves to adapt and perhaps new traditions will develop. We often think that Christmas must stay the same, but the reality is that it changes a little every year. Loved ones sadly depart, new friends come in to our lives, children grow up and families expand and contract. If we can embrace what we can do to celebrate this year we can still keep hold of the essence of Christmas- feeling grateful for those we hold dear and connecting whole heartedly with them whether in person or remotely. Merry Christmas everyone and here’s to moving hopefully in to 2021!