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Communicating with our kids about Coronavirus

Here at Lifeologie, we are getting lots of questions like “how do I make sure my kids are okay?” “they’re acting crazy” “they’re more anxious than normal” “they’re more angry than normal.”

Please understand that as much as you and I have lost our social circles, our kids have also lost that. Daycare kiddos all the way up through high school, they have suddenly lost all their supports outside of the family. That can be really scary for them.

What we’re noticing is that lots of parents don’t know how to talk about this with their kids because they don’t want to make it worse. Really, when you talk about it, it makes things MORE manageable for the kids.

Six Tips on How to Talk to Your Kids During Quarantine:

  1. Model good processing: When you have a thought about things that have changed, say them out loud. This can sound like “I miss getting my nails done!” or “I miss standing in the shampoo aisle for 10 minutes picking out the perfect shampoo.” Say this to your kids and say this to other people in front of your kids. This shows them that you are experiencing loss and that you are processing it out loud.
  2. Ask how they are:
    • Try “highs and lows.” For this exercise, everyone says a good thing that happened today and a thing that they didn’t like about today. This can help you keep a temperature on what’s going on in the emotional climate of your household.
    • This is a time for them to share, not to be taught. So don’t use this time to correct or teach them, just hear how they are and move on to the next person.
    • Ask them right out: “things are pretty weird right now, how are you? I’m wondering if this is weird for you too?”
  3. Reflect on what is weird right now. Talk about how weird it is that they haven’t been to the grocery store in a long time.
  4. Talk about how this is temporary. Things are going to be weird for a while. We’re going to figure it out. It’s going to be okay, and then it will go back to normal.
  5. Embody confidence. Show them that it’s okay to be sad, but also show them that you know everything is going to be okay.
  6. Dream together about the future. Make plans for once the coronavirus is gone and we can do fun things again. This can be really joining and encouraging for kids.

Above all else, have grace for yourself! This is a tough time!

For more specific questions, shoot them over to grandrapids@wefixbrains.com.

Also if you think you would benefit from joining one of our support groups for parents during coronavirus, check out our group’s page.

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