During this season we tend to get wrapped up in the excitement, anticipation and fun of the holidays. We look forward to the break from school and work, hoping to spend time with family and friends, celebrating, reconnecting and sharing gifts, joy, and love. For many of us there will be roaring fires, a Christmas feast, loved ones nearby and too many Christmas trees under the tree. Many children come from homes where they may not be provided even the very basics to help them thrive and just be kids, let alone the things that we will be surrounded with during the holidays. Sadly, for many children, school may be the only place where they feel safe, warm, cared for and engaged. We are their warm sweaters. The ones that make them feel safe and warm and comfortable.
This time of year the energy level in our schools goes up, up, UP! and we often hear exasperated educators sigh, “You can tell it’s getting close to Christmas!”, and for many kids, that’s true. They’re excited and enthusiastic and counting down the days until holidays and whatever their celebrations entail.
Let’s not forget about the kids whose increase in energy level or changes in behaviour might be triggered by anxiety and not excitement. Anxiety knowing that in a week or so they will not have school to come to. That for two weeks they will not have their Warm Sweaters on.
I wish it weren’t so. I wish all of our children had the chance to be children – happy, cared for, provided for and treated to wonderful Christmas and holiday memories. The reality is that some aren’t.