As 2021 set’s off with hope of change on as many fronts as we can all consider we must pause and look at what we have went through. More importantly, what our children have gone through. There is no denying that children of any age are generally resilient. They figuratively (and sometimes literally) bounce right back up pretty quickly. However, in these unprecedented times of turmoil associated with the pandemic as well as the political climate, we must work so much more to teach, guide, and protect them from the chaos that has become our current world.
Further, our children will take over this world and it is imperative that we teach them how to care for it, and themselves. One of the most common complaints I am hearing from clients of all ages is related to burn out. In general, we’ve seen so much drama, trauma, and negativity and it has persisted relentlessly over the past almost 10 months now. There has been an undeniable emotional and psychological impact.
If you can see the emotional or psychological toll on yourself, your child(ren), or a loved one then please reach out to us and let us help. In the meantime, here are some tips for helping children manage these tumultuous times.
Media coverage – It’s important to limit the amount of exposure that we all have to the events happening in the news. Therefore, it is recommended that you limit news coverage. This is traditional news coverage (i.e., television, newspapers, etc.) and social media, which has a knack for misinformation. Watch the news together allowing your children opportunities to ask questions but an opportunity for you to explore their understanding and their needs as well.
Emotional Regulation – It’s not an inherent skill to be able to regulate emotions or process all that they are seeing. It’s important that you stay calm as well. Express your emotions but stay calm. Spend time with your children and have conversations that discuss your values. This gives you an opportunity to teach and guide them. But have a plan, prepare what you are going to say. Additionally, keep your routine. Children of all ages thrive on some level of predictability. In a time when nothing seems predictable, create as much predictability as you can.
Social (in)justice – Be kind. Let your children see you being kind. Pay things forward. Listen to those who feel and have experienced racism, sexism, ageism. Reinforce acceptance and appreciation for diversity. Our differences are what make us strong. Teach your children there are other perspectives than their own. Help them to understand that their experiences are not the same as others.
Communication & Social Connection – Listen, model, and teach. Children learn through their interactions with others. Show them how to be good listeners and communicators so that they may be able to express there emotions calmly, but also assertively stand up for themselves. Social isolation may be one of our biggest challenges right now due to the pandemic. However, where possible, where safe, all children to maintain their social connections. There is no ideal way to manage this right now. There is either possible exposure to the virus or too much time on electronics. Balance the risk. Further, let children lead, allow them to have some sense of empowerment.
This isn’t everything, there just isn’t a script to “fix” it. We must endure this together with our children. As we endure and experience together, we are able to learn and to grow. Change and growth are hard, and I believe we as a society are being tested. Again, if you need help, for yourself, your children, or your loved ones. Reach out and let us help you through.