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Structure During the Holidays

Structure During the Holidays

Our children from hard places need structure just as much as we do. Today, Raegan shares practical tips to create structure in your home this holiday season.


Structure During the Holidays

Hi, my name is Raegan welcome back to Coffee with Chosen. We all love structure, structure provides us with a sense of safety and knowing what’s coming next, and if 2020 has shown us anything it’s that we are people who want security and structure. Our kids from hard places need structure too. Structure helps our kids feel safe and know that they are going to have their needs met. TBRI teaches us how to balance structure and nurture as a caregiver, and with Christmas break just around the corner how do we create structure during the most wonderful time of year.

The first step is to set realistic expectations. It might not be realistic to schedule the day into 10 to 15 minutes sections, but can you have us a general schedule for the day. Having a general schedule for what will be done during the day can help children feel safe, because they know what to expect. You can also end the day by letting your child know what’s coming next the next day. Even if it looks almost the same as the current day it’s okay to let your child know what to expect.

Another way to add structure is by letting your child know when transitions are coming. You can do this by letting them know when a transition is coming at 30 minutes, 15 minutes, 10 minutes, 5 minutes, and 2 minutes. You can do this by going into the room where your child is doing something getting down on their level and letting them know the remaining time before a transition. For children who are older you could get a kitchen timer that’s next to them while they’re playing so they can also see the time remaining before a transition.

A big part of Christmas time is see an extended family this means that your day-to-day schedule can be thrown out the window and you have to go with the flow, of being with family who might not understand trauma. You have to be sure to keep your expectations in a realistic place during this family time. It also can help to talk to your family about how things could be difficult. So, their expectations are realistic too.

This can be overwhelming for our kids also so a practical thing to do is have a signal that they can give you so you know that they need your help to stay regulated. This can look like your child putting their finger on their nose so that means you’ll go take a break alone together. As parents we also want to remember what our priority is, our priority during time with family might feel like the main priority, but our main priority is always our children. Especially if this child is a new placement in your home. If you need more help during this Christmas season, please reach out to us at


If you want more parenting tips geared towards families impacted by foster care, adoption, and kinship care, please visit our resource library. If you need personalized trauma-responsive care for your family, we would love to help! Contact us to learn more about the ways Chosen Care can support your family.
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