School is out for the holidays, and the holiday season is an opportunity to fill children’s time off with the positive experiences that are all around. Many families have traditions, and many communities have events and activities for the whole family to enjoy. For many of us, the season also has times of stress and pressure, but no matter what you celebrate, believe, or practice, this season can offer big and small opportunities to create positive memories. These memories of loving relationships, warm environments, engagement with family and tradition, and emotional growth can help build lifelong resilience.
The tips below have been modified from our 10 ways to practice PCEs (positive childhood experiences) resource to reflect how we can practice PCEs during the holiday season.
- Social connection; connect with family and friends wherever they live. Setting up a quick call can help us stay connected to those we love, try activities like baking and reading on a video call.
- Talk with your children about traditions and your favorite holiday memories as a child. Sharing positive memories is a great way to create more positive experiences.
- Reach out for support. This time of year can be hard. It is ok to ask for help. Look for support from people who care about you, and from mental and physical health resources in your community. By doing this, you are showing your children that everyone needs help sometimes, and that it is ok to ask for it.
- Reach out to support; you do not need a special occasion to reach out to family and friends. Let them know that you are there for them to spend time with in person, chat over the phone, or connect on Zoom.
- Connect with your partner and friends; trying to create the perfect holiday can be both joyful and stressful. One way to increase the joy and ease stress is to spend time with the people we love.
- Learn or do something new as a family. Try a new activity out in nature, or learn about another cultures traditions around the holidays by sharing stories or reading children books together.
- Make time for self-regulation and self-care. Take a break from caring for everyone else, and create moments to take care of your own needs and wants during the holidays.
- Be silly; the saying goes, “Laughter is the best medicine.” Try having a holiday movie marathon, dancing to holiday music, and making memories by starting a new holiday tradition.
- Engage with your community. Tree lightings, holiday parades, volunteering at local shelters or buying presents for those in need. Community engagement spreads holiday cheer to your family and those around you. It also lets children know that they belong in and are connected to their community.
- Prioritize positive moments. Be present with your family – whoever that is to you – this holiday season. Enjoy the small quiet moments of laughter, joy, and love. The holiday season can be a time when we create positive connected memories for our children and remember our own childhood.