We know that this is a difficult time for everyone in our community. This quote from Rebecca Kennedy, PhD really struck us:
“Most young kids will remember how their family home felt during the coronavirus panic more than anything specific about the virus. Our kids are watching us and learning about how to respond to stress and uncertainty. Let’s wire them for resilience, not panic.”
Below we share some ideas and tips to help keep your children (and yourself!) resilient in these uncertain times.
Day One – The number one factor in resilience is a caring adult. During this time your child may have many questions or fears that arise. Make sure that you are that person they can turn to. Be factual with your children. There is a lot of misinformation on the internet right now that our children are getting information from. The CDC and CDPHE sites are good sources of information. Allow them to ask any questions, no matter how silly they seem. Reassure them that we will get through this. Tweak any of this to sound good.
Day Two – Acknowledge their feelings, whatever they may be. Children may have many fears and anxiety around this time. It is important that we acknowledge however they are feeling. “ I can imagine with all that is being said and schools being closed, you do feel a bit anxious. Talk to me about those feelings.” Talking about our feelings is the best way to get them out. Reassure your children that we will get through this. If you yourself are panicking, your children will follow suit. Art, physical activities, music and writing are other good ways to deal with the stress of our anxiety.
Day Three – Create a routine. With school being out and social distancing in place it is easy to sit around and watch tv or play video games. Children thrive best on routine. When children have a schedule, anxiety and fears will decrease. Look to balance the day with creative time, academic time and outdoor play. We found a good schedule here that you can modify for your needs.
Day Four – Bridge of Support. Who is it that supports your family. Make a plan in case of an emergency who it is that your family can rely on and let your children know who this is. Who can grocery shop, who can provided child care etc… It is important to have a support system in place. With social distancing, we know this is challenging. We’ve seen an outpouring of support online for residents helping each other out. Utilize online resources like social media and Nextdoor App to find local neighbors and community groups that can help out if you need to expand your support system.
Day Five – Giving back to others. Getting outside of ourselves and thinking of ways we can be of service to someone else is very important during times of fear. When we are in crisis situations we often tend to think about ourselves and all that can go wrong. Teaching our children to help and give back to others is a key to resilience. Who in your neighborhood may need support? Are there elderly or people with compromised immune systems who may not be able to shop? Do you have an neighbor that has to work but is lacking child care? Be creative and help kids try and come up with ways to support each other during this time.
Day Six – Leaning on and strengthening our roots. A trees roots are what gives it life and during a storm keeps it strong, steady and secure. What are your roots? When we are struggling, our roots will keep us strong. Friends, family, church, spirituality, creativity, nature etc… Lean in to all of these things to give us strength and courage to handle the difficult moments.
Day Seven – Optimism. Optimism is the key to resilience – We have gone through tough times before and gotten through and we will get through these times right now. What are the positive things in our lives? Each night you and your children list three things you are grateful for. Your brain can be wired to look for the positive with a little work. If we maintain an optimistic mind, anxiety will not take over.
If you have any questions or need support during this time, please reach out to Katy Thiel, MSW, Youth Resiliency Program Manager at 970-871-7628.