One day your life looks a certain way, with your kids hopping onto the school bus as you drive off to work. The next day everything seems a little different, to put it lightly. As an adult, it’s one thing to navigate your own life during this critical time.
But you have kids, and they have questions. Trust us when we say, you’re not the only one asking:
“How do I help my child(ren) through this?”
We get it, being home with kids for an undefined amount of time can be a challenge. But the truth is, change is hard on them too. Some may react to this new way of life by withdrawing, others by acting out. Younger children that do not know how to verbalize their feelings may feel “ill”. This is normal! As a stable provider in your childs life, it’s important for you to be available, and to react in a kind way. Something as simple as putting your phone down and being available will make them feel safe, comfortable, and more at ease during transition.
Consistency allows boundaries and expectations to be set, which provides your children with a sense of safety. Simply put: structure gives your child a sense of safety, allowing them to learn to grow, adapt, and cope as things change around them. If your child keeps asking for food out of a fear that they don’t know when they can next eat, immediate gratification is just helping the cycle. For example, If you set a clear expectation that we only eat lunch at noon, they will learn how to adapt around the rules that you place. And have confidence in your ability to provide when circumstances cause lunch to be pushed back 30 minutes!
Play, and then play some more.
Kids learn best by playing! It’s how their brains develop, it’s the lens through which they process the world, and it’s how they learn to socially interact with one another. If your kids are missing school, play school with them, and see what they come up with! Chances are, you’ll hear their view of the world, and questions that they have about the Corona Virus will come up. This is your open door to talk with them about it! And if nothing else, it’s fun to spend time as a family and make the best of these situations.
Flip it for good.
It’s easy for children to pick up on the emotions that are going on around them. It’s how they learn! The best thing for you to do as an adult, is to model healthy coping habits. This way they can see that negative emotions aren’t bad, but that we don’t have to stay there. Turn fear and anxiety into family and play time, showing them that love is what they really need. If your kids see you sad or angry, that’s okay! Show them that it’s good to forgive, and there are healthy ways to make them feel better.
Take care of you.
When you have a bunch of little ones needing your care and attention 24/7, it’s easy to forget to take a moment for yourself too. But we’ve said it before, you can only give of what you have. If you allow yourself to become mentally and emotionally exhausted, it’s hard to respond to tough situations in a kind and loving manner. So go ahead! Set your kids up with some toys and step into the next room for a 15 minute break. You can still hear everything, and it’s good for kids to learn to entertain themselves, too.
We know that change is difficult, especially when you’re leading a younger generation through it, too. The truth is that during this season we have an opportunity to show our children how to be strong during times of uncertainty!
And of course, we’re here to help. We’re confident that with the right tools and help that we can get through anything.
If you’re facing feelings of anxiety, or have a child in crisis, call us today.