how to support kids during a pandemic

Our little ones are experiencing some big changes right now. At times like these, it’s natural to want to protect our kids.

Here are a few ways to protect your children’s mental health :

be communicative

When kids are kept in the dark, they worry.

Our kids are perceptive, intuitive and more informed than we might think. Before schools shut down, there was chatter on the playgrounds and they heard the news stories you think they didn’t hear. Kids feel the energy of fear and panic floating around our world right now, they see the face masks.

It’s our job to protect our kids from unnecessary exposure {from the virus and the media}. You can support your child by being the trusted person they turn to when they have questions. Stay informed and filter the information for your kids. Share the facts and support their feelings.   

be available

What our kids need most right now is to know the safest people in the world are available for them.

Focus on answering the questions they have, without flooding them with too much information. If you don’t know how to answer their question, it’s okay, tell them – “I don’t know the answer right now, but as soon as I do, I will let you know.”

Be available for eye contact and back rubs.
Be available for cuddles and stories.
Be available for fears and feelings.

be grounded

If you are feeling anxious, fearful, or overwhelmed, get some support for yourself before you talk to your kids.

Talk with a friend, a loved one, or a professional. Take a bath and do some belly breathing. Meditate. Turn off the media and go for a walk.

Your kids will pick up on your state. If the person they rely on for protection is stressed out, they will become stressed out too.

be reassuring

Let your kids know, “I see you and I hear you, you are not alone, I am going to take good care of you and you can take good care of yourself too.”

When kids are little, the whole world revolves around them {as it should}. It’s called egocentrism and it’s a healthy and normal part of being a kid. It also means, they think everything will happen to them and they often blame themselves for things that are not their responsibility.

Reassure them by talking about how rare the virus is and when kids do catch it, it’s like catching a mild cold they can easily recover from.

be empowering

When it feels like the world is spinning out of control, it’s important to focus on what you can control.

The same is true for out little ones. Let them know how you are keeping them safe and how they can keep themselves safe. Kids {people} feel empowered when they know what to do.

Let them know they can wash their hands with soap and water while they sing “Happy Birthday” to themselves every time they come in from outside or use the bathroom, before they eat, and after the cough, sneeze, or blow their nose.

be predictable

As humans, we’re not very comfortable with uncertainty and change can be challenging.

There is a lot of change happening and uncertainty flying around right now. Routines give kids a sense of safety, security, and structure.

Work together with your kids to create a fun structure to the day with predictable play time, outside time, work time, meal time, and bedtime.

be creative

What opportunities does this change open up?

Can you teach them how to cook and explore new recipes together? Can you show them how to check the oil in the car or change a time? Can you handwrite letters to friends and family and pop them in the mailbox? Can you show them how to sew buttons or make their own cleaning products? Can you start an online business with them or teach them how to build a website? Can you learn a new card game or teach them how to groom the dog? Can you watch fascinating videos together on Khan Academy or take an online yoga class together?

In this crisis, there is an opportunity to strengthen our bonds, to show our children how to be resilient, and to let love lead the way.