When children are nervous we may notice them continually searching for reassurance – the usual advice would be to acknowledge this but keep reassurances to a minimum, modelling to them that fundamentally the adults in their life believe that the world is a safe place.
However, here we are – smack bang – in the middle of unprecedented times where it may be difficult for us, ‘the grown ups’, to keep level heads ourselves around our families health and economic future.
Our most important job is to manage our own anxiety whilst engaging with our children honestly and openly about the developing situation. Their worlds of home and school have been thrown into orbit; they had to say a hastened, brutal goodbye to friends and teachers not knowing when they would see them again. The novelty of not being is school has now probably faded a little – time at home with parents is usually pleasurable but sometimes not. Relationships can be put under extraordinary pressure when we are in lockdown with an unclear future.
Whilst we need to talk to children openly and find out their understanding of the pandemic, our responses should contain reassurances aplenty but we must to be careful not to give absolute guarantees.
It is within human nature to endeavour to provide an environment for our children in which they feel safe. Maybe we can begin to appreciate how these trying times can be viewed as an opportunity for us to model kindness, resilience and compassion. We can hope that our children will remember these formative times as a period in which they learnt important life lessons along with resilience for their futures.
Further reading by Sharon Spindler –