The holiday season can be full of triggers for adults and children. For many, all of the festivities may be too much for those with a history of trauma. Children who have been neglected or abused may especially struggle during this time. Likewise, parents whose children are no longer in their care may feel an overwhelming sense of loss and trauma.

Understanding how difficult this time may be for foster children is vital for caregivers and child welfare professionals to support them.

Here are a couple tips to help children & families cope during the holiday season:

• Give children space for difficult emotions. They may show an increase in negative behaviors when they are feeling upset. Adults can help by recognizing their feelings and normalizing that it is ok to feel upset.

• Set aside time for the child’s needs. To cope, some children need downtime to relax with quiet activities. Other children may need to stay busy by being outside or participating in an activity.

• Routines and predictability are very important to children, especially in times of high stress. The holidays are filled with parties, recitals and events that interrupt their daily routine. Efforts to maintain their routine as much as possible will help minimize children’s feelings of stress or becoming overwhelmed.

Article Credit: Florida’s Center for Child Welfare at USF