As parents, we’re all wondering about how to support our kids in this time of uncertainty. Here are some tips that can help you help them. When talking to our children about the coronavirus and its ramifications it is important not to provide promises about what will happen. Promising that they will not get sick or that no loved ones are going to be impacted by the virus are not only beyond our control, but if contradicted can greatly damage trust and their feeling secure in your relationship. While speaking to your children about the coronavirus, as with other sensitive topics, it is important to speak to your child age-appropriately. Younger children can understand that we are going to stay home to try to make sure we are safe and don’t spread germs that can make other people sick. Speaking in these honest yet undetailed terms provides information for current practices without causing undue anxiety. It is ok to share your uncertainty regarding this situation, while providing reasons for changes in your day to day activities and schedule. Reviewing suggested hygiene practices to stop the spread of the virus is also important and can be empowering to you and your children. Something to bear in mind is that many of the healthy means of managing stress, i.e. friends, school, being able to perform in areas of strength (music, sports, etc.), faith community, and extended family are not currently available due to social distancing. This means that families should try to be intentional with replacing these outlets by helping children connect with friends and family using technology, practicing sports in the backyard, praying together, and maintaining a learning schedule. The importance of having a general schedule with basic structure helps children maintain a sense of normalcy. Setting expectations about duties to be completed before screen time also helps. The more we can continue with our everyday tasks the better. Lastly, now is an important time to engage in quality time with your family by playing board games, going on walks together, having family meals, etc. in order to be attentive to the needs of your children, help your family grow closer, and make the transition to being at home and distance learning easier.
Peace, Mark Martinez MA, LPC