This certainly is a unique time in living memory for all of us, as global citizens! Whether we are being asked to self-isolate or practice social distancing, how we react to the Covid-19 pandemic, has the potential to significantly impact our children’s sense of well-being; far more than anything that might be transpiring outside of our doors. They are looking to us to see how we will respond to this rapidly changing ‘new world’ that we are all living in!
They are looking to us! This is, as it has always been! Recall back to when they, as toddlers, fell and scraped their knees. What would they do? They would immediately turn to us to assess our reaction. If we reacted calmly with compassion, they dusted themselves off and headed back to what they were doing. In contrast, if we reacted with fear or alarm, they would respond in kind!
When unexpected events occur in life, children will look to the adults around them to find their clues on how to cope! They are doing that right now. They are listening to our conversations, assessing our facial expressions, observing our body gestures and sensing our emotions.
It is a tall order for anyone to adjust smoothly to all that is happening within our society. From predictable daily life patterns, we’ve been thrust into a bizarre new existence that impacts every aspect of our lives. It would be unrealistic to not temporarily be thrown off kilter from such a dramatic shift in stepping from the known to the unknown. However, it is imperative for our sake, for their sakes, and for society that we find our true north. Our reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic will be the greatest influence on how our children cope with and remember this unprecedented time in current history.
Our children need to know they are safe and that they can rely on us to see them through! This is true for all children and teens; but is especially relevant for those who struggle with anxiety! They need to see that we can do this! There is no need for them to shoulder a weight that is far too heavy for them to bear! We are the safety net that they are seeking!
What can you do to help your child feel safe and secure? Here are some tools for your pandemic toolbox:
1. Be Informed
Make sure you feel empowered with factual information. There is a plethora of rumors circulating within social media and the media that is fluid yet not soundly based and scientifically proven. It provokes unnecessary fear and confusion when we humor information that is not credible.
Choose to get your information from credible sources and follow sound medical advice. Good sources will be ones that come from your local health authority, your local government agencies and organizations; which are tasked with keeping you and your community safe. Avoid opinion pieces that can conjure up fear mongering. We fear what we don’t understand, so become informed from credible sources. The more you know the less you worry.
Start with factual information and don’t allow fear to take over your thinking. In part two we’ll look at a few more tools for your pandemic tool