A fun and safe place for grieving children.

Comfort Zone Programs Wrap Up For 2015 With Holiday Grief Program

This year, one in nine children will lose a parent or sibling before they turn 20. The holiday season - the time between Halloween and New Year’s Day - can often be a difficult time for children who have experienced a loss in their life.


This year, Comfort Zone offered a new one-day program that focused specifically on holiday grief. This pilot program took place in New Jersey and was designed for the entire family. The focus of the program was on safe and creative ways to honor loved ones during the holiday season through dynamic activities.


"Our program lineup will always include our traditional camps, but this pilot program focusing on holiday grief is another niche program, and we look forward to bringing more of these specialized programs to the communities we serve in the future," said Mary Beth McIntire, CEO of Comfort Zone Camp. "Whether you are a camper, volunteer or family member, we hope that you will visit our website and learn more about our programs."


Pete Shrock, Comfort Zone Camp’s vice president of programs, offers these ways for families to help support a grieving child during the holiday season:


#1 Sharing is important.
Encourage children to share what they are feeling. Let them know that you offer a safe place for them to talk about what they are thinking in their own voice. If your child does not want to talk, encourage writing in a private journal.


#2 Acknowledge the grief.
We know that children grieve differently than adults, and it’s important to let them know it’s OK to feel sad at times, especially as they see celebrations unfolding around them. Children are very intuitive, so be authentic in your conversations.


#3 Encourage creativity.
Children are innately creative, and tapping into this creativity is a great form of self- expression. Encourage creating decorations that include pictures of their loved one. Help them bake their favorite cake or side dish to be included in a holiday meal. Create a memory jar and write down favorite family memories and read them together on New Year’s Eve.


#4 Honor your family’s traditions and create new rituals.
Rituals are important to children. Children thrive in structure. Talk to your child about what traditions they consider important for the holiday season, and look at ways to incorporate new traditions into your family’s celebrations.


#5 Go easy on yourself.
Take care of yourself first, and then you can take care of others. Slow down this holiday season, and your child will follow your lead. Take inventory of what’s important and what’s not and plan accordingly.


We wish you a safe and happy holiday season! Be sure to check out a camper family featured recently on the Today Show below!


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