The holidays are upon us with the hustle and bustle of early Christmas shopping and traveling for Thanksgiving well underway. For adults this time of year can be filled with everything from excitement to dread and the same can be the case for our children. As the country continues to move forward through the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, its important to take a moment to consider some ways in which we can spread some holiday cheer for the young people in our lives.
Recent reports show that young people between the ages of 13-24 are still struggling after dealing with the mental health challenges and social unrest experienced during the pandemic. The holidays can exacerbate feelings of anxiety and depression for young people.
Anxiety, depression and eating disorders in teens increased during the pandemic, and according to a CDC survey, 44 percent of high school students reported persistent sadness or hopelessness - Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 2022.
Check out these tips from ONG Kids for ways you can make the holidays more inclusive and enjoyable for the little humans in our lives!
Create a Safe Space for Conversation
Allow opportunities for youth and teens to talk about how they are feeling about the holiday
Explore how everyone is feeling
Make time to reflect on both the positive and negative feelings they may be experiencing
Acknowledge & encourage vs trying to avoid or "fix" issues that may not easily addressed
Create New Traditions & Memories
Plan and dedicate time with youth and teens to create new family traditions & memories
Let youth and teens lead family in activities that are centered around topics and activities they enjoy
Honor family members and other loved ones by getting creative with art, technology, and other expressive activities
Think outside the box and don't be afraid to get in on the latest social media challenge or kids' dance craze
Make Time for Self-Care
Schedule time for youth and teens to have alone-time
Allow youth and teens to step away to reset and recharge their emotional batteries
Give them permission to connect with their peers during this time without judgement or criticism
Avoid demanding travel or exhaustive family engagements 24hrs prior to the return to the normal work/school routines