Holidays mean one thing for parents–Lots of togetherness with their children! Let’s use it to continue working on IDENTIFYING EMOTIONS. Routines are going to be shifted…there might be longer-than-normal days…you will probably be seeing family and friends that you don’t normally see…All of that equalling a chance for BIG EMOTIONS. Remember, transitions and unknown events can cause anxiety in all children, especially the child with a hearing loss that might not know where he/she is going on Thanksgiving Day. [Insert reminder of incidental language and directly providing language to your DHH child.]
Use this time as an opportunity to explain the different schedule and the people you will be seeing-use pictures if you can. Use the gatherings to model emotional language, such as “It’s been a long day and Mommy is tired and a little grumpy. I can’t wait to get home and relax and start to feel restful again.” If [when] big emotions happen–positive and negative—label them! “It ISso exciting to be able to go to Auntie Trish’s house.” “It looks like you are feeling scared that Carl’s dog will jump on you. That dog is thrilled to have a little girl to play with. Let’s ask Carl is he will help calm the dog.”
We love family pictures! Take lots and review them with your child several times. “How was Grandma feeling?” “Look at your sister! She was being so silly.”
Make sure that your child who has a hearing loss is included in the events. If someone is laughing, explain why. If there is a child crying, tell your child what is happening. As Fred Rogers said, “When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary.” And for our kiddos who are deaf or hard of hearing, talking about emotions and feelings helps connect them with others and begins creating empathy towards others.