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Dear Dr. Cherrye,
As a teacher and parent, I realize the holidays can be extremely fun and upbeat for some children, but not all. I co-teach with a dear friend who just cannot wrap her head around why some kids seem sad around the holidays. What advice can you help me share with my dear teacher friend?
~ Not every child’s life is a bed of roses ~
Dear Not every child’s life is a bed of roses,
Indeed yes! The holidays can be a stressful time for many children and their families. Teachers can help ease the tension by paying attention to the needs of children who are not extraordinarily happy during these next few weeks.
Teachers who take time to become keenly awareness of how the holidays may adversely effect some students care about diversity, culture, and the self-dignity of their students.
Anxiety and Stress
Some kids are just plain stressed out during the holiday season. This may be due to a variety concerns such as parental divorces, death, new family member arrival(s), financial hardships, incarcerated parent(s), abuse, new marriages, changes in routines, and so much more.
Some teachers will not be aware of the “baggage” that some children may bring with them to the classroom. Children may be effected by one or more of the concerns listed above, and some may become anxious. Their mood may change; therefore acting out behaviors may arise. Be ready to counteract with positive actions and ideas to change the mood of students, if needed. Some will only require minimal support, while others may call for more extensive support. Be sure to utilize school support services such as Social Workers, Counselors, Behavioral Specialists and CYS workers when necessary. You will want to “holdup” these students and prevent depression and down-trodden affects.
Thinking Through with Care
In addition, help your co-teacher friend realize that choosing holiday parties and gift giving exchanges should be handled with care and caution. Some children may not be financially able to purchase a gift to trade with another boy or girl, so you’ll both want to plan ahead and perhaps purchase extra girl and boy gifts for those students whose parents would allow their child to participate in gift exchanges if they were financially able to do so.
On the contrary, you may have some students enrolled in your classrooms whose religion may prevent them from participating in holiday celebrations. Please always respect student/parental choice not to participate. All of these ideas must be thought through and taken into consideration beforehand. Cultural awareness and differences in Diversity are important during holiday preparations.
Tell your teacher friend to be ever so watchful and supportive to all children during this holiday season. Children who are sad during the holiday season have enough to think about and deal with without additional issues compounding their little worlds.
Finally, move forward with care and consideration for your students, and remain cognizant of their feelings this holiday season.
For students who cannot participate for religious reasons, please think of other upbeat, enthusiastic activities to involve them in. This may take some planning, but it’s worth the time.
For students who can participate, but have financial worries, please find trinkets, activities, books and other gifts to brighten their holidays, or simply fill the classroom with Christmas cheer, music, games and activities during the school hours. I’ll list a few ideas below:
- The Christmas Swap
- Santa’s Super Sleigh!
- Little Miss History Travels to North Pole
- A Christmas I Remember
- Sunshine and Her Big Blarney Smile!: Activity Story Book
- Kidz Bop Christmas
- The All-I’ll-Ever-WO Holy Night Nativity Scene 24-piece Wooden Christmas Jigsaw Puzzle with Inset Frame by Imagination Generation
- Lot of 12 Dancing Tin Angels Christmas Tree Ornaments
- Aquarius Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer Christmas Journey Board Game
- Christmas Trivia
- Christmas Bingo Game 24 Players for Kids Holiday Party Supplies
- 72 mini CHRISTMAS ACTIVITY BOOKS – Christmas toys and party favors Bulk Class Pack
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