Do you remember making Christmas chains out of construction paper when you were a kid? I remember having so much fun making them at school almost every year in the early grades. If you happen to be working with primary to junior aged clients this Christmas season, who are at the middle or end of their counselling, they might enjoy making a Feel Better Christmas Chain with you.
For many kids, Christmas, while an exciting time of year, can also be difficult, especially if they are dealing with the changes of grief, parental separation, moving, or mental health. This easy craft will allow them to make their own Christmas chain to be hung up on their tree or in their rooms. Each link will remind them of coping strategies for managing their feelings this holiday season.
Stapler or tape
Construction paper or wrapping paper
Pens, pencils, or markers
Decorations (glitter, rhinestones, etc.)
How to make a Christmas Chain:
1) Have child pick out construction paper colours. Christmas decorations are usually red and green, but the child should pick whatever colours will help him or her to feel better.
2) Cut the construction paper into strips that are about 1.5-2 inches wide. The longer your strips are the bigger the chain links will be.
3) Link the activity to the child’s counselling by explaining that on each link he is going to write or draw an idea for something that he can do to make himself feel better. Talk about some of the feelings the child might have over Christmas as a result of what is going on in his life. Then together brainstorm ideas and write them on the links.
For example: When I am sad that this is my first Christmas without my Dad, I can:
- Make Christmas cookies with Mom
- Draw a picture of my favourite Christmas memory with Dad
- Listen to Christmas music
- snuggle with my teddy bear
At this point, the client can use glitter or whatever other decorations you have available to add a little extra pizzazz to his chain links.
4) Once the strips are decorated, tape or staple the first one into a circle. This is the first chain link. Then loop the next link through the first circle and staple it. Continue attaching links until they are all attached. The child can then take the chain home and put it in a place where he can see it, so it will help him remember all the coping strategies he has developed. The child can also use the chain itself as a coping strategy, by continuing to add links at home when sad, mad, or anxious.