Mommy Minute: Changing holiday traditions amid the pandemic can affect kids


Thanksgiving is next week, and for many of us the holiday might look different than in years past. Health experts have advised extended families not to gather for their usual celebrations.

That can definitely take a toll on kids who might struggle to understand the changes.

Dr. Melissa Brown is a child psychologist at UPMC Pinnacle. She says disappointment over the loss of tradition or the disappointment of not seeing a particular family member can actually be a type of grief. She says to open lines of communication with your children now. Ask them about how they’re feeling, the traditions they’re missing, and try to find a way to create new ones. She also says you should monitor your child because their feelings could change from day to day.

“Maybe they’re a little sad or maybe that angry or frustrated, but have a discussion about those feelings, what they may be thinking,” Brown said. “And of course that can evolve over time as you get closer to that holiday event. There may be stronger feelings, but keep checking in with your kiddo and just find out, are things okay, and keep an eye on them.”

Dr. Brown suggests to try to keep as many traditions alive as possible and gather virtually instead.

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