Have you felt like your world has turned upside down? Most of us can relate. When our places of work closed or moved to remote-only, we were all left scrambling to adjust to this new and indefinite “normal.” There is no denying that this is challenging for adults, and we must also consider how it is even more difficult for our children. So how do we support them in this time? How do we to teach our children about COVID-19 and help them to cope with the affects that it is having our on daily lives?
I want to share the top 5 ways to lead and love your children well through this transitional time. In each section, there are some helpful resources for you and your family.
Our children crave understanding in the same ways that we do. It’s our job to help give them facts at their level of understanding. For my 2-year-old, this sounds like, “There are germs at the library. Germs make us sick, so the library has closed. The library will be open again when the germs are gone, and then we will go back.” For your elementary-age-child it might sound like, “When people are together in groups, they could share the germs that are giving people COVID-19. Until the doctors figure out how to treat this illness, we can’t be around our friends or other people. Soon, doctors will know how to help people and we will be able to go back to school and seeing friends.” Check out these resources to help share facts about the situation with your children:
No one likes the way it feels to be powerless against something that is scary. Thankfully, we are not powerless against COVID-19 and neither are our children. This is an excellent time to teach (yes, teach) your children the proper way to wash their hands and how to cover their coughs and sneezes. Just like adults, they probably aren’t doing it “the right” way. Tell them that good handwashing and careful control of germs will help control the COVID-19 spread. Here are some great “germ” experiments to do while at home during this time:
In addition to practicing good hygiene, there are many other ways our children can be helpers now. Ask them what they want to do to contribute. Here are some ideas to get you started:
In a time like this, it is understandable that our children would feel disappointment, fear, or sadness. Encourage your children to talk about how they are feeling and be sure that those feelings are validated. You might say, “Of course you are sad that you cannot see your teacher” or “Being stuck at home is hard for me, too.” Minimizing or dismissing our children’s feelings—even if they seem trivial to us—will not help our children cope with this challenging situation. Sit with your child to talk, write, or draw about how they are feeling. These resources can help you and your child work through their emotions about COVID-19, as well:
It’s no secret that there are some terrifying things on the TV and social media these days. As adults, we are able to recognize the impact that media-overload as on our stress levels, but our children often cannot. Children will be needing screen time to do schoolwork and to connect with friends and family, both very important things, but be wary of too much mindless screen time. Screen time in general can cause an increase in anxiety for children, but even more so if it means that they are being exposed to worrisome content they cannot fully understand. Check out this these resources to help minimize screen time for your children:
At the end of the day, the most powerful tool in helping your children cope with COVID-19 is you! Use this time to engage with your child in ways that we don’t get to in “normal” life. Play games, learn together, and have fun. These days are hard, but we can create amazing memories with our children during this time!
Stay healthy and continue to follow along with The Wellbeing Partners for more resources!