Helping Your Child Manage Their Emotions During Stressful Times
By Cate Jennings, LMSW
This is an unsettling time for all of us. With so many life changes and future unknowns, we work to manage and cope with numerous emotions. As teachers continue to support learning needs, and keep students academically engaged, it’s so important for parents and children to be equipped with the tools to also address these varied emotions.
So, what can you do?
We all want to feel heard and understood. Maybe your child is a chatterbox, who shares every thought and emotion, or maybe they need prompting to talk about what they’re thinking and feeling. Either way, verbally acknowledging that thoughts and feelings are both real and important, can go a long way.
Child: “It is so annoying not being able to go anywhere and see my friends.”
Approach #1: “It’s not helpful to complain and isn’t a big a deal – you’ll see your friends soon enough.”
A much more productive approach: “I get that – I’m having a hard time not seeing my friends too. I know FaceTiming isn’t that same, but I’ve found that helpful. Have you?”
While there are so many things we don’t have control over right now, there are many things that we do. Reminding ourselves and our children of that can be reassuring. What is your family doing to stay safe and healthy? Talk about that daily, and ask kids for their input and ideas.
Many kids may not admit it, but we all thrive with structure in our lives. It helps us feel safe, and improves productivity. Creating a routine will likely look different for every family, although distance learning gives us an excellent base for working around the school day…even if it is virtual. Talk as a family about what a successful family routine will look like. As the current situation continues, routines may need to shift a bit, but with some trial and error, you’ll continue developing a routine that works for you and your family.
It’s so easy to focus on all the disruptions and negative things that COVID-19 has introduced into our lives. While it may be tricky at times, think of some positives…no matter how small. Less hectic days? More family time? More time for a hobby? Perhaps it will help to create a list that can be added to daily. You just may be surprised with all that you come up with!