It's a challenging time to be a parent. With everything that's going on with the Coronavirus, it can be difficult to navigate it with your children. As challenging as this can be to adults, imagine how children must feel.
We must remember that kids soak up and reflect the emotions of their parents in times like this. They will reflect the thoughts and feelings of their parents.
For those parents who are enabled and empowered to work from home during this season, this can be a blessing and challenge at the same time. Trying to work and watch the kids at the same time can be trying.
Yes, our world is at a current standstill. And parents are anxious to know when our lives will return to "normal" again.
Parents are wondering things like...
When will this end?
Will my family be safe?
How can we work form home while our kids are crying and screaming?
It is definitely a challenge.
This is a great opportunity to come alongside parents and support them. It can be a challenge for parents to handle the current events. You can encourage them and give them practical steps to take with their kids. Here are some simple steps you can pass along to them.
Find out how much your child already knows. Ask them what they have heard about the virus. Your answers and deeper questions should be based on how much they already know. If your child is age 6 and under and they have not yet heard about the virus, you may not want to bring it up.
Be an example. The kids will reflect what they see in your demeanor. Process and deal with your issues and fears before you talk with the children. Stay calm and don't panic. It 's not just about what you say, but also how you say it.
Let the kids know this is going to give them more time together at home. They can use some of the time to play games, ready books, do art and crafts, etc.
Calm their fear. Let's say your child overhears someone at school talking about how many people have died because of the virus. This can materialize into a real fear for the child. Acknowledge their fear and share about a time when you were afraid and God comforted you. Let them know that God is watching over them. He will protect them.
Be age-appropriate. Talk differently to a 5-year-old than you talk to a 5th grader. The older the child is, the more likely they are to answer and engage in conversation.
Let them know that scientists and doctors are working on a cue. Assure them that they will find a cure soon.
Remind them to practice good hygiene. Washing their hands before and after a meal. Use hand sanitizer when you come in contact with objects that other people have touched. We don't want to pass on germs to others.
Here are a few more helpful things parents can do to help their children:
Pay close attention to your child's media consumption. Consider reducing some screen time with news reports, updates, etc. Too much of this can cause anxiety.
Be available to listen. Let kids ask questions. Provide clear and accurate information for them.
Avoid people who are coughing or sneezing.
Stay in close contact with school closings, delays, changes, etc.
Your turn. What are some other ways we can help parents? Share your thoughts and insight in the comment section below. Praying for you and other children's ministry leaders as you navigate through this with families.