Helping Kids Through the Holidays When a Parent is Incarcerated - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

About 2.7 million kids across the U.S. have incarcerated parents, and that’s tough on the children – especially around the holidays.

The good news is that as a parent, caregiver, or friend, there are things you can do to make things easier on kids of incarcerated parents during the holiday season.

How to Help Kids Through the Holidays When a Parent is Incarcerated

Most correctional facilities in Wisconsin allow holiday visitation, which can be tremendously beneficial to both the kids and the parent who’s incarcerated.

Even if you’re not able to visit, though, there are a few things you can do to help. Experts suggest:

  • Creating personalized gifts for the incarcerated parent
  • Writing letters and making cards for the incarcerated parent
  • Talking about the parent’s incarceration
  • Reading books about parental incarceration

Personalized Gifts, Letters and Cards

You can encourage children to create personalized gifts, letters and cards for their incarcerated parent, which can help them process the feelings they’re experiencing and help them stay connected with mom or dad. There are a few online tools you can use to help from organizations like Sesame Street in Communities, too, including:

Talking About the Parent’s Incarceration

There are several caregivers’ guides that can help you understand the most effective and helpful ways to talk to children about a parent’s incarceration, including:

Reading Books About Incarceration

There are a number of helpful books about incarceration for kids in all age groups. Some of the best include:

Hopefully you find these resources helpful during the holidays – we know that it’s a difficult time for children and their caregivers.

Carlos Gamino