Baylor College of Medicine

A composite image of a child and adult talking via laptop webcam.

Celebrating holidays while social distancing

Homa Shalchi


Houston, TX -

Staying home and practicing social distancing is the new normal worldwide. Families must change their routines and traditions for upcoming family-filled holidays. Dr. Laurel Williams, associate professor in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine, provides advice to parents trying to make holidays special for their children.

“Easter, Passover and Ramadan are almost here, and, for many, the idea of how to observe these holidays may seem overwhelming and sad,” Williams said. “My family celebrates Easter, so I developed a strategy based on each letter of the word, but this could apply to any family gathering.”

E: Embrace the now. Understand that now is what we all have. We can work to be mindful of our own adult reactions. There is no need for perfection but a need for empathy – for ourselves, our families and our communities

A: Awareness for how your children are doing. How your child is doing will depend a fair amount on how you are doing. Adjust accordingly to meet their needs. Children may regress, be needier or, alternatively, act like nothing is amiss or be angry. Acknowledge their feelings – validate those feelings as real. Accept how they and you feel.

S/T: Stick to traditions your family has around Easter, Passover and Ramadan. Don’t stress yourself out trying to make things perfect. Don’t spend more of the time talking about what the observance should be, but stick to your traditions with a bit of creativity and flexibility.

E: Engage in technology by coordinating with loved ones to have Easter egg hunts and shared meals through the internet, if allowed. Keep the video chat on to watch a favorite show or do an activity together, even when apart.

R: Reflect on the pieces of your life and your world that are going okay. Send those positive vibes to others. Make memories that can be reviewed in the coming months and years that show how you and your family were able to be resilient. Traumas and difficult times are stressful, but completing a story with resiliency is an effective way to have difficult moments in time become a part of our recovery, not the whole story.

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