This month we feature a guest post from Penny Hermes, independent consultant for Social Emotional and Mental Health concerns and corresponding behaviours
The weather is changing, Christmas is on its way. This is often a difficult time for children who struggle with their emotions in school. Think about what Christmas means to you, is it family time? Stress to make it perfect? A reminder of someone you’ve lost? Full of love and giving? Then think about what it means to the children in your class. For some traumatised children it can be too much, leaving them feeling even more vulnerable or reminding them of bad experiences from past Christmases.
Tips for coping with Christmas.
- Keep to the routine as much as possible. Using visual timetables to explain any changes.
- Have favourite items readily available to help reduce anxiety around new things.
- Offer alternatives to the big celebrations such as Christmas lunch/party.
- Set aside time daily for relaxation/mindfulness/yoga.
- Set up jobs or responsibilities if the child cant cope with changes such as Christmas play rehearsals i.e. having colouring available, give them the photographer role, helper in another classroom …
- Talk to the children, attune and validate any feelings they have about Christmas.
- Offer new, positive experiences and be the emotionally available adult throughout for them.
- Avoid talking about Father Christmas bringing presents to only the ‘good’ children as some children have a self belief that they are bad so there is no point trying.
- Set up small goals/tasks to be achievable.
- Look after yourself so that you can support them through their challenging behaviours and emotions.
For any more advice or support around children’s behaviour please contact – Penny Hermes
Kernow SEMH Support Service
Facebook Kernow SEMH Support
Independent consultancy offering support and training to schools around Social, Emotional and Mental Health concerns and corresponding behaviours.