This year the pandemic is heightening typical holiday blues and children are increasingly affected as well. They might not understand why they can’t go sit on Santa’s lap and they might worry that Santa won’t be able to make his usual rounds on Christmas Eve.
Fortunately, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the White House Coronavirus Task Force recently announced that Santa is immune to COVID-19.
Child psychologist Dr. Melissa Brown of UPMC Pinnacle says that was a great relief and encouraged parents to share that news with their children. She also says it’s important for parents to model a positive attitude and to remind children that the changes are being made to keep everyone, including them, safe.
Dr. Brown encourages parents to validate their child’s feelings, not just dismiss them and tell them “everything will be fine.” She suggests telling them you understand what they’re feeling and try to give them answers to their questions as best you can. She also says it’s important to give them hope and focus on the things they can still do.
“Maybe they’re missing a grandparent or relatives they haven’t seen in a while and they don’t know how to express those big emotions…and that’s where you as an adult help them identify what those emotions are and what you’re feeling,” Dr. Brown said.
Dr. Brown says we should be checking in periodically with our kids right now to see how they’re doing and pay close attention to changes in personality. If you notice drastic changes, you might want to seek professional advice.