Supporting Our Kids in Today’s World
Today’s world may present some overwhelming images and messages for our kids, leaving them feeling a sense of uncertainty and confusion. From watching news headlines from around the globe to overhearing adult conversations about pandemics, second waves, protests and more. These are uncertain times, least of all for our children. So, it is very important that we offer our children a safe place to process what is happening in the world.
As parents, we need to listen to our children’s questions and concerns with open hearts and minds. It is our role as parents to reassure our children that it is natural to be worried about Covid-19 and other world events and offer them a supportive environment to work through these feelings.
Talking with children about what they have been seeing, hearing, and feeling will help them make sense of today’s current events. During these conversations speak respectfully and truthfully to ensure your child feels heard, validated, and reassured. As parents it is okay to admit that we do not have all the answers and encourage that together you can learn more. As parents we don’t want to compound anxiety by ignoring children’s questions or concerns. So if you feel as though you need to time to process the question or research the topic first, then assure your child that you will find out, or alternatively you can learn more together if appropriate. In the meantime, continue to interact with your child, maybe with a game or activity, so they are not left alone with their fears.
Remind your child that it is important to talk about how they are feeling and encourage them to ask questions. Let them know you are always there to chat with them anytime. You can also take the opportunity to discuss and highlight other important caregivers in their life that they can also reach out to. Conversations with your child like this foster family unity and community spirit, providing your child with a sense of hope and knowing that they are not alone.
Finding information to support your child’s concerns can be difficult, as there is an overwhelming amount of misinformation circulated daily. To help, try finding two or three reliable and trustworthy sources that you can learn and access relevant up to date facts. Furthermore, try to minimise your family’s exposure to rumours and inconsistent reporting on TV and news feeds that may contribute to further anxiety. Educate your child how to discern reliable sources of information, as what they view can either lead to calm or simply add to the chaos.
Do not forget that your self-care matters too, this means taking time to stop and check in with yourself. What we practice grows stronger so focus on a supportive and positive mindset, lifestyle, and community. Do not be afraid to reach out for support and advice, we are not meant to go through life events alone. One day what’s in your toolbox for life will help another person, we’re all in this together.
Overall, it is imperative that we promote a sense of HOPE. Together we can discover and share information about individual and community action, response, and safety. We can reassure our children by letting them know what plans are in place to keep individuals, families and communities safe and secure amidst even the greatest of challenges. Mankind has a proven propensity to adapt, grow and prevail to overcome difficulties and this is no different.