These past few months have been full of uncertainty, fear and anxiety for many children. Routines have been changed, families may be spending more time at home, and the news is dominated by scary, COVID-19 related topics.
Building resilience in our children teaches them the ability to positively face adversity when it appears in their lives. This may require parents to shift from wanting to protect their children to now empowering them to accept and work through life challenges. I hope you find the following helpful by making meaningful connections with your children and helping them through these challenging times.
Honesty is key. We are all anxious of the unknown during this pandemic. But answering questions as honestly as possible (age appropriately) is important to how a child understands what is happening and how to stay safe.
When we start talking with our children about difficult topics, we can show our support by taking the time to actively listen and understand their feelings. When children experience this type of engagement, they feel empowered to share their future thoughts and concerns.
Create an environment where their emotional safety is protected. Children do not need to know every detail, but keeping to main points will aid their understanding of this current reality. When kids feel safe, they will be more open to share their fears and ask big questions.
Try to understand without making assumptions. Ask questions to seek understanding of how they feel and what they think. This will help children identify that their thoughts and feelings are heard by adults and that they matter.
Be a model of resilience. Kids will benefit from seeing that everyone goes through difficult situations sometimes. How you react and handle issues as they arrive will translate to your children and their ability to cope.
Encourage time for physical activity. Ensuring our children have time to move during the day helps create a positive distraction and provides a natural mood booster. Try not to overthink this part, let the kids take the lead! Enjoy creating positive memories and further building resilience in your amazing children.