The holidays is the time of the year when your home feels like it has a revolving door where friends and family come and go to celebrate.
However, it’s important to keep your little ones in mind when saying hi to unfamiliar faces.
Hugging and kissing is something a lot of us do during the holidays but Shannon Sawyer, a counselor for Sawyer Behavioral Health in El Paso, said forcing children to hug or kiss a family member takes away the child’s autonomy, being able to make your own choices.
One suggestion is to keep an eye out for a child’s body language.
“They might hide behind the parents leg, they might run in the other direction, they might just start crying,” said Sawyer.
Sawyer adds that parents need to help their kids create boundaries for themselves, that way they agree to things on their own terms.
“They’ll learn over time this is a safe person this is somebody I can trust and trust is big. And I don’t have a problem giving them a hug or I don’t have a problem giving them a kiss on the cheek but it may be that they never want to give them a hug or a kiss. Some people just don’t like much physical touch,” said Sawyer.
Parents also must respect those boundaries while making it clear that personal contact isn’t bad.
Sawyer said it’s appropriate for adults and parents to talk to their kids about the importance of healthy touch and provide to them what healthy touch is.
She also said that there are other alternatives instead of a hug or a kiss, such as a handshake or a high five.