We know that there are very real physical needs for many populations right now- including children. We see you there as you navigate the needs of your families and students- and we’re here to support you as you navigate how to meet the emotional needs of the children who are processing these changes as well.
There is a lot of anxiety right now. As adults, many of us are preparing for isolation and caretaking- this is taxing! But what many people don’t realize is that kids can be sponges in times of community-wide stress.
A FEW THINGS TO REMEMBER:
1. Know what you want to say before you say it- Have you done your research? What are the takeaways you want your child to grasp before you start the conversation? Here’s an article on CDC research.
A few things you might emphasize:
- Coronavirus will change routines for a while, but our separation from large groups of people are in the hopes that we can protect our community from getting sick- and that’s a beautiful thing to do for each other.
- Handwashing is important. Find books that focus on these concepts. If you don’t have books on your shelves, check out your local library’s virtual library options. Or here’s a video for younger kids and a comic for older ones.
- Together we will work together to protect and support each other. Do you have something in place you can do together that can contribute to your community? Can you add items to stock your neighborhood free little pantry or can you swap phone numbers with elderly neighbors in case they need a grocery delivery? Giving children a way to safely contribute can help them process in healthy ways, and give children back control in their lives, even if their contribution is safe hand-washing practices.
- Set the stage for what to expect. Do you have a new routine you can set up? What habits can we create that are for the sake of joy? Can you make a sticker chart with prizes to help kids enjoy hand-washing? This is an article with tips from a family of 5 on quarantine in Italy who have set up a daily tea time in the backyard sunshine.
2. Your calm is contagious- Children are aware of social and emotional dynamics much earlier than we would guess. They pick up on us, so if we’re having trouble functioning in this time of stress, they likely need more TLC as well. The flip side of this is true, if we can create some good self-care and calming mechanisms, that modeling can help our kids do the same.
3. Kids are capable of big conversations- Every family gets to make the personal decision of how to do this, but when we can talk to them clearly about what’s happening, it gives them some control. Clear, thoughtful information can help children stay calm through fear and anxiety. We can explain situations at a child’s developmental level, while assuring them that we will all work together to keep each other safe and loved.
Books that can help with processing:
- Charlotte the Scientist Finds a Cure by Camille Andros
- Aliens Get the Sniffles too by Katy Duffield
- Llama Llama Home with Mama by Anna Dewdny
- Did you know many libraries have apps where you can access their digital catalogs for free? Check your local library website!
4. Encourage consistent expression- When kids experience big changes in their lives, they can benefit from consistent emotional expression. This can be through art making, writing, talking, playing, running, pretending. When they are moving their bodies and their minds, they have space to make sense of what’s happening outside of their bodies and also within.
Resources for families who are spending more time at home, teachers who are trying to help students process intense emotions, community organizers who are trying to lighten the load on parents during this time- We see you there.
Here are some free Art Feeds resources for you to tap into:
Our podcast has loads of stories about creativity and expression- it’s a good listen with kids or solo.
This blog has a theatre activity that’s really fun (and helpful) to do with kids.
Training on our Art Feeds Method that creates safety and security for students as they create is offered in Art Feeds Online along with lessons with your basic membership. For March online, subscriptions are marked down. You can get your first month for just $20 (marked down from $29.99). Use code MARCHMONTHLY for 30% off your first month of our monthly membership. Or use code MARCHANNUAL for 15% off your annual subscription (a $45 savings!) Become a Member here.
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash