For children and teens grieving a loss the holidays can be a time filled with many reminders of times spent with their person who died. Your child may want to continue with traditions or create new traditions. No matter what activity you choose, taking some time with your child allows opportunities to make positive connections. The intense sense of sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing may arise during the holidays, making a meaningful impact. Here are some suggested activities, traditions, and ideas you might try to help children and teens cope during the holidays:
Sense of Sight:
- Drive around town and look at the different light decorations. Spending time together having fun can decrease the urge to avoid ignore the holidays.
- Look at pictures, albums, favorite mementos, or invite your children to draw a memory.
- Donate to their favorite charity, buy gifts for others in memory of your person, or volunteer as a family at local charity and put a smile on someone’s face.
Sense of Smell:
- Nothing smells better than fresh baked goods. Pinterest has ideas for cookies, cakes, and pies.
- Not a baker- try lighting a candle that smells like you’ve been baking (Pumpkin Spice or Snickerdoodle should do the trick).
- Hang a fresh wreath on the door or in the house or go outdoors for some fresh air.
Sense of Touch:
- Make a special ornament, decoration or craft in memory of your person who died.
- Pass around a journal and have family members write down a memory, saying, or story.
- Light a candle in memory of a person. Flameless tealights are a safe way to introduce this ritual to children.
Sense of Taste:
- Plan a remembrance meal and help your children cook a favorite holiday dish that reminds you of someone who has passed..
- Go to the favorite restaurant of your person who died and enjoy a meal as a family.
- Try some new dishes and switch things up.
Sense of Hearing:
- Observe a moment of silence.
- Listen to their favorite music or music that reminds you of your favorite memories.
- Go ahead and mention your person’s name by sharing stories!