Let’s face it, the world as we know it has completely turned upside down. The sense of normalcy we all are used to has stopped for the time being, and while parents understand the reasons behind it, do our kids?
In the blink of an eye everyday life stopped. School closed. Playdates cancelled. Family visits ceased. The only people children are seeing in person are their immediate families. Sure, they Zoom with classmates, friends, and family, but what are they really feeling about this monumental life change? Even though they may not be able to express it, many children are dealing with anxiety on a new level or possibly for the first time ever.
“Our job as parents isn’t to provide certainty in a time of uncertainty. Our job is to help kids tolerate the uncertainty,” explains Jerry Bubrick, PhD, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute.
Even though children may not fully comprehend what is going on, they hear the news, see it on social media, and hear parents discussing COVID-19. Unlike most other life situations, parents don’t have the answer to this one, and the not knowing is scary.
“We want to teach them how to tolerate not knowing. You should let them explain how they’re feeling and why, and you can help them validate those feeling by saying things like, ‘I have similar worries. Let’s brainstorm ideas on how we can make things better.’ Instead of just giving answers, you want to have a conversation and compare notes,” says Dr. Bubrick.
The Child Mind Institute has great conversation starters for you to use in order to touch base and really get a pulse on how your kids are feeling.