Updated: Mar 23, 2020
Ok, this is a crazy, unprecedented time. Our world is upside down. People are going bonkers for toilet paper. Our deepest fears have been triggered. What can we do to show our kids that although it pretty much sucks right now, it's not the end of the world? "Everything is the opposite of what it appears to be. Nothing is the opposite of what it appears to be." Huh? Wait for it...
So, how's working-from-home-schooling going for you? Are you even lucky enough to have that option? I'll bet things get tense at times during your newly scheduled day. Have the kids shut you out yet? Been rude? Guess what? They are afraid. Like, very afraid. There is so much mis-information, conflicting stories, fake news and outright lies, that kids find it difficult to discern what is true for them. I want to share four tools I use with my students to empower them to know what they know about COVID-19 and let go of the stress and anxiety they are dealing with.
1.) Is this (craziness) yours? (fear, anger, sadness....)
Often kids pick up on parents and peers who may be freaking out right now.
Offer them this question and you may see their shoulders relax a bit. Let them know it's ok that it's not theirs. They don't need to take it on. (Oh, would you please turn off the news, too?)
2.) "Everything is the opposite of what it appears to be, nothing is the opposite of what it appears to be." (Dr. Dain Heer) Say this 10 times. It's weird, but it works. When the world seems totally catty-wampus, this sorts out the energy of the wacky going on and basically grounds you.
3.) What can you be grateful for today? Getting kids to look at the positive things in their life shifts their point of view and suddenly there is less anxiety about what is going on.
4.) Let kids know it's ok to laugh, joke, play, create and have fun. Yes, there are a lot of sick people and dead people. Yes, this pandemic is awful. Please let your child(ren) know it's ok to be happy. They are looking to you for guidance on this. Hugs, kisses, snuggles, family games, backyard shenanigans, letters to seniors, cooking/baking together...do what brings you joy and their joy will follow.
So, stick to your new daily schedule, stay present with what evolves each day and empower your kids to know what they know. If you need any of this convincing for you - well, what do you know? Is there enough ______* to get through this? (toilet paper, patience, snacks, wine, internet bandwidth) If not, what can you choose differently that would ease this worry?