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Finding Hope in the Holidays

The holidays are a very special time of year, but the holidays can also be a very painful time of year for many. Maybe your family has recently experienced the death of a loved one. Perhaps, this is your child’s first holiday season with both parents separated and living in different households. Your family may be in and out of the hospital throughout this season due to the illness of a family member. These are just a few example circumstances that can create various negative emotions to arise during the holiday season.

Although, we are not able to change the circumstances your family is going through, we can share some ideas about ways to make your holiday season focused on love, encouragement, and resilience. Positive affirmations can be a very powerful tool in shifting one’s mindset- reminding someone of truth and increasing feelings of hopefulness. Holiday decorations can be fun and festive, but also painful reminders of a difficult holiday season different then your family had hoped. We came up with a new type of holiday decoration that your family can participate in together which focuses on reminding each other of positive affirmations throughout the season. This year, we suggest you try creating an affirmation chain to decorate your home with instead of simply a holiday paper chain. Listed below, we have included directions on how you can facilitate this activity with your child(ren).



Supplies needed:

  • Colorful paper (holiday related or child’s choice)

  • Pen or marker

  • Tape or stapler

Instructions:

  1. cut 10-30 one-inch strips of paper

  2. Have your child write down or write for your child a different positive affirmation on each strip of paper. (i.e., “I am loved”, “I am a good friend”, “I am silly”, etc.)

  3. Take one strip of paper and curl it around so both ends meet and form a circle. Tape or staple ends together.

  4. Feed the next strip of paper through the previously made paper circle and curl that strip of paper’s ends together. Tape or staple ends together.

  5. Repeat until desired length of chain is complete or child is done writing affirmations.

After the activity is completed, hang the affirmation chain in a visible place in your home. Each day leading up to or during the holiday your family celebrates, remove one circle from the chain and read it aloud. This provides an opportunity for your child to be reminded every day throughout the holiday season what their special attributes are, things or people to be grateful for, and their current strengths they can build upon.

We hope this activity brings comfort and hope into your home during this holiday season. If you feel like your child would benefit from further support or another therapeutic activity facilitated by a child life specialist, contact us at Hearts Connected.

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