The holidays are almost here and while it can be an exciting time, it can also be a stressful time for police children.
Many questions come up during this season from kids wondering why their holiday has to look a little different than their friends or other family members.
In today’s episode I share some discussions you can have with your kids to help minimize any confusion and validate their feelings.
Here are Some Ways to Have Discussions with Police Children About the Holidays:
Validate their feelings.
First and foremost, let your children know that their feelings are valid and real. It’s okay to be confused or upset about having different holiday plans. It is normal to feel this way when we see the “rest of the world” doing things a different way.
Normalize that other families/children are going through this, too.
Let them know that while it may not seem like it, many other families are going through similar holiday plans that they are. Many jobs require people to work during the holidays like doctors, nurses, firefighters, even certain retail workers.
Talk about other days to celebrate as a family.
Even though they may feel sad or concerned that their holiday may look different, let them know that you have a plan to celebrate other days as a family.
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Reiterate that being together is what matters, not the day on the calendar.
We started at a very young age by telling our kids that being together, whenever we celebrate, is what matters most, not the exact day on the calendar. If we celebrate Christmas the day before, that’s okay, because we get to be together and we will make memories either way.
Now years have past and our kids don’t even remember having to celebrate different days, they only hold on to those memories we have as a family.
Do letters from Santa/Easter Bunny with an alternate date.
If you do Santa then you can send or receive an alternate date letter for your kids. Essentially kids would receive a letter from Santa saying that Santa knows the hero in their life is working and Santa will make arrangements to be there on X day (whatever day you plan to celebrate).
I have these letters in my Holidays with a Hero pack for first responder families. You can grab Holidays with a Hero here. This includes Santa letters to celebrate alternate dates.
Create a family holiday calendar.
Make this as a family and let your kids see when you will actually celebrate. Keep it visible for you kids to see. Hang it on the fridge or in a high traffic area of your home.
Find ways to connect on the actual holiday if your kids are sad or be prepared in advance.
Using the Marco Polo app is a great way to talk on the actual holiday if you can not be together. This is like a walkie-talkie type of video chat where you can send messages and the other message can view the videos and send a message back when they can.
You can also pre-record messages. So if the first responder in your life is working on Christmas Day then they would record a message say, the day before, then you could show it to your kids when it works best for you/them.
Share about their job and how the community needs them at that time.
You could even say that you are proud of your kids for doing so well at sharing their mommy/daddy on this special day.
I hope these discussion tips help you and your police children have a happy holiday season!
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