What a strange time we're all walking through right now. Children, parents, families are all being asked to do the impossible, and yet here we are, finding ways to cope, creating new routine, and finding inner resilience and strength we may never have known we had. You may be struggling with just how to communicate with your child(ren) not only about the state of the world, but also about their thoughts and feelings about it. You may also be wondering what you can do to support your child right now, especially when you as a parent may already have such a full plate, trying to juggle your own work, self care, your child's school work, family routine, chores, etc. Below, you will find many helpful tips and resources.
Talking to Children about COVID-19: There are 3 articles on our helping articles page that offer: 1. a really good list of both general considerations for all kids as well as some age-specific guidelines. 2. a comic for upper elementary and older kids (not appropriate for younger kids). 3. a great resource for lower elementary and younger with links to videos from PBS.
Ideas for starting conversations with your child(ren):
1. Ask them what they know (listen without interrupting, validate feelings, and then find moments to correct any misperceptions or misinformation.
2. Ask them about what they like and don't like about being home all the time.
3. Ask them what they miss about how things were before.
4. Ask them about the pros/cons about school at home versus school at school.
5. Ask them to tell you about what they're grateful for.
It can be fun to take turns coming up with ideas to these questions together, as a family.
Helping Your Children Cope: Here's a list of ideas that may support your child/family in coping with COVID-19 related changes.
1. Spend time in nature
2. Find ways to stay connected with friends and family
3. Spend positive time alone
4, Take advantage of free online offerings of yoga, mediation, mindfulness through apps and videos
5. Find ways to connect to your family's spirituality
6. Get creative with rituals, celebrations, rites of passage
7. Reconnect to old hobbies (or discover new ones). Share a hobby with your child. Teach them something new.
8. Get creative with accessing positive activities. Find out what extracurriculars are currently being offered online.
9. Exercise, get active.
10. Find ways to be of service. Teach your children the value of helping others, donate to a local food drive, help a local family in need, show kindness to someone in the house.
11. Practice positive perspectives and reframing. Your child may need support to shift from a worry focus to all of the things your family is doing to stay safe and healthy.
Please be gentle with yourselves. Take time for self care. Remain calm and neutral whenever possible. Model positive coping strategies for your children; they are paying attention. We will get through this together.
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LCSW, CCLS, RPT-S
Morris County Play Therapy
(862) 242-0559 Denville, NJ