We may not have anticipated spending this spring season locked inside, but we are. Stay-at-home is going to last several more weeks and yes, it’s disappointing to spend Easter, Passover, and Ramadan indoors away from extended family and friends, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate.
Research confirms that holidays are especially important to children. Celebrating them builds a strong bond in a family and the happy memories seem to be associated with more positive interactions when our kids become parents. The way we celebrate expresses what’s significant to us and the traditions we perform tie us to past generations and give us a sense of belonging.
Holiday rituals are meaningful to marking special moments in our lives. They bridge the ordinary with the extraordinary as they give us a sense of purpose and belonging and they help us manage extreme emotions and stress. Lean into to your holidays traditions, because they:
- Give us a sense of security, identity, and belonging;
- Make the world feel safe and predictable;
- Provide comfort when things are unfamiliar; and
- Help kids know they matter. Mattering is the belief that we make a difference in the world around us and that develops a strong bond, known as secure attachment. A recommended action to show kids they matter is to connect them with people and places that broaden their world. Participating in the rituals of holiday celebrations is a way to make that connection.
- To focus on what your family considers important during the holiday season, revisit your family mission statement to frame how you want to celebrate. Ask these questions:
- Who are we as a family?
- What do we care about?
- What do we believe?
- What is the purpose of our holiday celebration?
- Take this opportunity to get curious about the origins of the holiday you celebrate and your family’s personal traditions. Psychologists view curiosity as a life force, vital to happiness, intellectual growth and wellbeing.
- Learn about the holidays and traditions of other religions and cultures. Why do Jews observe Passover, Christians celebrate Easter, and Muslims participate in Ramadan?
- Since religious services and family gatherings are virtual this year, participate online. This will help you cope with feelings of anxiety and loss while providing a sense of community.
- Be thankful for what you have. Practice gratitude. It has the power to energize and to heal.