Now that the countdown to Christmas Day has started, what is on your mind? Are you planning your Christmas day menu? Thinking about the colour theme for your tree? Wondering about what the perfect gift would be for those closest to you? For most, even though Christmas is a hectic time, on the day it is beautiful and filled with laughter, happiness and family.
What is the child in your care thinking about as Christmas nears? Perhaps they are wondering whether they will get to spend Christmas with their biological family? Possibly they are scared of what the unknown of Christmas day will bring? Maybe they are wondering if Santa will find them because they aren’t at their own home? For some children, Christmas could mean a chaotic time, a day filled with sadness and hurt.
For most people Christmas is a joyous time but for the child in your care, they may feel like they are not being loyal to their biological family if they are having fun and enjoying the day with you. They may feel lonely because none of their biological family is around or they may feel sad as nothing is familiar to them. Keep the communication lines open with your child and let them know that these feelings are ok to have.
In the lead up to Christmas, spend time talking to the child in your care about what traditions they may have had for Christmas Day with their biological family. If you can, incorporate some of these into your day. This will give them a feeling of belonging, of being heard and will help them to feel more comfortable. While talking with your child, let them know about some of your own traditions so they know what to expect. Talk to them about the kinds of food you eat, the people who come to your house (or the people you will visit) or any other quirky traditions you have.
Because of heightened emotions at this time of the year, you need to make sure that you practice self-care at this time especially. You can only give of yourself as much as you have, so make sure you take time to replenish your energy. Go gift shopping on your own, meet a friend for a coffee – do something that is just for YOU.
And finally, put your child’s mind at ease and help them make sure that Santa can find them. Pull out the craft box and help the child make a sign that says something like “Santa, stop here for [name]”. Pop it on your front door or attach it to something in the garden. Make some ‘Magic Reindeer Dust’, mix some glitter and rolled oats together and sprinkle it up the path to your house so the reindeer can see where they need to go!
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