It is truly difficult to comprehend what is happening around the world and particularly in our own community. There is so much unknown in the midst of our knowing. This creates great anxiety among adults and therefore in our children. Even our pets sense our being off-balance.
The last few days of school before spring break, I overheard students engaged in “I heard” and “did you know” conversations about COVID-19. I wanted to offer some thoughts about how to talk to your children about the virus.
Mister Rogers once said “Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary.” This is true for all ages.
Asking questions and making space for the answers is really important. If we don’t ask the question and instead just give information, we may be totally missing the mark of what our child needs to hear. Make sure you give answers that are on the child’s level of understanding. Ask them to give you a real-life example of your answer or to repeat back to you using different words what you told them. This way you’ll know your child heard what you wanted them to hear.
There are several websites that can help you know what to say to children. One that I really like is found by clicking here.
I am available to help your children and your family navigate this challenging time. Please reach out to me via email or by leaving a voicemail on my office phone. I will get it in a timely fashion.
May we all take time to go for a walk, play a game, and take some deep breaths. The sun will rise, the tide will flow, and it is through supporting each other that we will move through this crisis.
The Rev’d Sonia Sullivan Clifton
Guidance Counselor and Chaplain
God of the present moment, God who stills the storm and soothes the frantic heart; bring hope and courage to all who wait or work in uncertainty. Bring hope that you will make them the equal of whatever lies ahead. Bring them courage to endure what cannot be avoided, for your will is health and wholeness; you are God, and we need you now as always. Amen.