Most of us enjoy the sights, sounds, and special occasions of the holidays, whether we celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, or some combination of them all. However, the holiday season can be overwhelming and triggering for a child impacted by trauma, prenatal exposure, or other developmental challenges. Schedules change. The scents of home are different. Lights and music are everywhere.
We provide high-quality, evidence-based resources that help you support your children. We want your family not just to survive this holiday season but to thrive. Our tools will help you increase felt safety and build attachment to improve everyone’s holiday experiences.
- Practical Tips to Help Your Kids Manage Stress
- Tips for Managing Your Picky Eater
- Open Adoption and The Holidays
- How Do You Manage Relationships with Birth Parents with Substance Use Disorders?
- Working With Your Child’s Birth Parents During the Holiday Season
- Celebrating the Holidays in Foster Care: A Guest Post
Practical Tips to Help Your Kids Manage Stess
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Or is it? On the one hand, there is the delicious suspense of gifts hidden away for the big day. There is a barrage of sweet treats at school parties and holiday celebrations with our faith communities. On the other hand, our schedules turn upside down, and bedtimes shift. The colors, lights, scents, and sounds of the season overwhelm the senses. Adults learn over years of holiday experiences how to manage the differences the holidays bring. But how do we teach our kids to manage their stress when consistency, predictability, and calm fly out the window like reindeer taking flight?
Tips for Managing Your Picky Eater
For most of us, the holiday season is full of the sights, sounds, smells, and flavors of our family’s treasured traditions and fond memories. However, these traditions may not yet hold deep meaning or sentiment for kids impacted by adoption, foster care, or kinship care. For others, the sensory input might be triggering or overwhelming – even painful for them to process. Handling picky eaters during the holidays feels like an additional mental load for many parents and caregivers. Food issues are challenging for us, but they are just as stressful for our kids.
Open Adoption and The Holidays
Raising your child and navigating an open adoption can be challenging on the best of days. When you add the layers of holiday traditions, sensory overwhelm, or triggering memories to the mix, even the most ardent supporters of open adoption will testify to the potential for messiness. How do you handle your family’s open adoption and all its complexity during the holidays?
How Do You Manage Relationships with Birth Parents with Substance Use Disorders?
There are no easy answers to dilemmas like these (and the many others you will likely face). Substance use disorders occur across all economic, religious, cultural, and social demographics. Substance use disorder complicates relationships between you and your child, your child with their birth parents, and between you and the birth parents. However, when active substance use and misuse hits as close to home as your child’s birth parents, it’s easy to be judgmental or draw hard lines – even going as far as wanting to cut them out of the child’s life. We always advise thoughtful caution and education before doing so.
Working With Your Child’s Birth Parents During the Holiday Season
The benefits of resource parents and kinship caregivers working collaboratively with birth parents include stability, continuity, and safety for the child. As we enter the holiday season, many foster parents and kinship providers feel anything but merry and bright about the challenges of working with birth parents while providing nurture and care for their child. Interactions feel fraught with family history. Phone calls are tense with unmet expectations. It’s challenging for all the grown-ups involved, impacting the children. We offer these concrete tips for working with your child’s birth family during the holiday season – and beyond – to smooth the way to a relationship between you all.
Celebrating the Holidays in Foster Care: A Guest Post
Children in foster care need a warm safe place to land, no matter the time of year they come into care, but the holidays can be especially painful and lonely for them. Foster parents and kinship caregivers can serve these precious ones more fully and respectfully when we take the time to understand the unique struggles that holidays present for them. This is one former foster youth’s story of years of holiday seasons before one foster mother changed everything.
10 Tips to Enjoy the Holidays with Kids Who Have Experienced Trauma
The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy, family togetherness, and celebration. For those who are parenting kids who have experienced trauma or loss, we know that this season can also be quite stressful to navigate. What are the practical things you can do to help your family enjoy the holiday season with kids who have experienced trauma?
Supporting Your Child with Sensory Processing Challenges
For a child who struggles with sensory processing or regulation – whether it’s a diagnosed disorder or not – the world can be overwhelming and triggering. How do you support a child with sensory processing challenges? We’ve come up with some tips to help your child cope with sensory overload to support you during family gatherings, holiday events, and other times that feel extra challenging for kids with sensory processing challenges.
Surviving and Thriving in the Holiday Season
We adults often lament how quickly the holiday season arrives and how fast it flies by us. We feel as if we’ve hardly had time to sit down and enjoy a moment of peace to soak in the memories we are making. However, for many of our adopted, foster, or kinship kids, the holidays might feel like a never-ending assault on their senses and emotions. It’s no wonder. With all the changes in sights, sounds, diet, and schedule, our kids can feel vulnerable and overwhelmed from Halloween through the new year. How is a family supposed to survive, let alone thrive, during the holiday season?
Parenting Pro Tips for the Holiday Season
Parents everywhere feel the rising anxiety of advent calendars and holiday countdowns that adorn the refrigerators and walls of their homes. We all want to make our celebrations more meaningful and relaxing, whether we celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, or another holiday. The big question is, how do we accomplish that? Every year, we all wonder how our plans got away from us, how the month flew by so quickly, and how the heck we are going to get it all done, don’t we?
Supporting Reunification as a Kinship Caregiver
Kinship caregivers have unique opportunities to provide nurturing care for children whose parents cannot parent them for a season. However, the pre-existing relationships you have with the child’s parents, whether they be your adult children, siblings, or another extended family, can complicate kinship care. You have a history with the parents, and you are also helping the child work through his history with them at the same time.