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How to Help Kids Overcome the Disappointment of No Vacations This Year

How to Help Kids Overcome the Disappointment of No Vacations This Year

With coronavirus travel restrictions and tightened budgets, your family may be disappointed about not having a vacation this year (or any time soon). Here’s how to help your kids.


The holidays are upon us. This time of year usually has children excited for the annual family trip, whether it’s to a fun destination, visiting family, or a ski vacation. But 2020 is different. The economic and health challenges brought to us by COVID-19 have resulted in the cancellation of most holiday getaways. With travel restrictions and quarantine guidelines in place in New York and other areas throughout the country, vacations aren't part of most families' holiday plans this year. 

Even a weekend trip to somewhere local may be out of the question for many families, as unemployment continues to rise throughout the New York metro area. Job losses are widespread and plaguing so many industries.

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It's not just adults feeling the pain of the pandemic. Children have been experiencing social, emotional, and mental health effects alongside adults throughout the year. Some kids will also feel a deep sense of loss with the change of plans this season as they miss aspects of their holiday break.

Cancelled travel plans will be felt most because children have had plenty of time at home, according to Darby Fox, child and adolescent family therapist and author of Rethinking Your Teenager.

“Vacation plans not only provide a change of scenery and routine but an opportunity to rest and reset,” Fox says. “Kids have had several months of stressful uncertainty and holiday vacation is needed now more than ever before.”

So, without the outlet of travel, how can parents help their children through this difficult time? To start, they should consider planning special events to help fill the travel void, Fox suggests. 

In addition to planning activities, it also helps to let children express the emotions they are feeling, as some may be disappointed—at least at first—to find out there won't be a holiday trip this year. 

“Empathize with your child and really listen to them,” says parenting expert Natasha Beck, otherwise known as Dr. Organic Mommy

Ideas to Help Fill the Vacation Void 

Travel may be out of the question, you can break up the time at home by giving children fun activities to look forward to even though travel isn't involved. 

While things are certainly different this holiday season in so many ways, parents can use this as an opportunity to create new ways for their families to celebrate the season. It also helps to remember that children are resilient and have had to adjust to many changes this year, just as adults have.

“Kids of all ages have done a great job dealing with all the cancellations the last eight months,” Fox says. “Unfortunately the holidays will be just one more disappointment if you don’t put extra effort into creating new traditions.”

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Barbara Russo

Author: Barbara Russo is a freelance writer who holds a bachelor's degree in communications from the City University of New York. She enjoys playing guitar, following current events, and hanging out with her pet rabbits. See More

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