This year has knocked us down, chewed us up and spit us out...yet, here we are, still moving into the holiday season and rounding the corner to the end of the year. Good riddance year 2020, amiright? Although the year is not over (and more challenges surely lay ahead) we feel this Holiday season is the perfect time to connect to the things that are most important in our lives. Instead of getting caught up in the frantic energy of the holiday season, what if we use this season to reset and focus on our core values? What if we encourage our children to connect to their inner strengths? What if we encourage ourselves to do the same? This holiday season, we want to share the values that we, at Slumberkins, hold deeply in our hearts; Supporting families in raising caring, confident and resilient children. Let’s connect to our resilience, our confidence, and our relationships. Let’s find a way to dig deep and celebrate the joy we can find in the moment. Getting back to basics can be simple, sometimes it’s a matter of reflecting on what we are already doing. Here are some things we are trying to practice this holiday season and we’d love to share these ideas with you.
How to support caring children:
Model it: Children learn best by modeling… you’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again, but here’s the catch; It's’ not just how we treat our children, but also how we treat ourselves. Are you hard on yourself for making a mistake? Do you feel like you aren’t being a good enough parent? Try offering yourself a little grace. Modeling being kind to yourself shows children how to treat themselves and others. The way we treat ourselves, often becomes a model for how to judge or treat others. There is tremendous pressure on parents right now to ‘do it all.’ Are there any parts of that pressure you can let go? Try reminding yourself you are doing your best, and that is enough.
Practice it: This holiday season find a way to give. Maybe that’s within your family unit, or maybe volunteering in the larger community. Whatever way you can, involve your children in the process. It’s great for kids to learn early the importance of giving and kindness. It feels good to give and research shows practicing generosity helps people feel happier and more fulfilled.
How to support confident children:
Model it: It’s impossible to always feel confident, but it turns out it’s something we can practice. Right now, parents are busy, busy, busy! There is a lot going on in our worlds and it’s easier to focus on the things we have left to do, instead of the things we’ve already done. Our suggestion is to try writing yourself a “Done List” and not just a “To Do” list. Write down all the things you’ve done in a day. Include things like “ate breakfast...turned on computer for distance learning…survived global pandemic.” Take some time to really celebrate the wins in your life, and notice all the things you are managing right now. Where we focus our thoughts can greatly impact our sense of ourselves and the world.
Practice it: Kids gain confidence by playing, and participating in tasks. Let your child join in the fun this holiday season. Let your children be part of gift giving by making the tags, or even helping with the wrapping of presents. Doing any baking? Invite the kids to join in! It does not have to be an elaborate project, even just letting your child play with the pots and pans while you cook, is a great way to involve kids in what you are doing.
How to support resilient children:
Model it: Again, to teach it, you’ve got to feel it yourself. Many of us are feeling pretty rough around the edges this year, but look how we are getting through it all ! The way we tell the narrative our events and our experiences, can influence how we feel about the event and ourselves. When talking to your children about this year and what you’ve been through, try highlighting all the strengths and successes you’ve had without denying the hard parts. You might say, “Wow, at the beginning of the year we learned you wouldn’t be going back to school, and that was so hard at first for all of us, but look at us now. We’ve found a new schedule and we learned how to use the computer and we are making it work. I’m really proud of us as a family.”
Practice it: Allow your child the space to have all their feelings about the holidays this year. It’s okay if things feel different, it’s okay to be mad, it’s okay to be excited or overwhelmed. Resilience is built through exposure to tough experiences and practicing distress tolerance. It doesn’t mean you have to fight through it or act “strong.” Resilience really comes from knowing deep down that we can get through it and it will be okay. If things look different for you this year- you could expect some feelings about that. Don’t shy away from the feelings, instead offer space to feel them, and nurture them. See some of our resources online for developing a calming corner, and various tools that can help your child welcome feelings and learn skills to regulate when times get tough.
Overall we want you all to know you are doing a great job. You’ve got this! You already have inside you what you need to support your child, and you don’t have to do it alone. We are here to support you this holiday season. Stay tuned for more resources to come. This season we are wishing you all a healthy, happy and meaningful holiday.