So far 2020 has been a very stressful year. Pandemic. People out of work. The death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter. Stock market ups and downs. Racism struggles. Police brutality and the murder of George Floyd and others. Unemployment. Riots.
Many would say 2020 has been the most stressful year in their entire life.
When parents are going through tough times, kids pick up on it and can become stressed out as well.
Fear can come from catching a small glimpse of the news, overhearing conversations between teens or adults and seeing what their parents post and read in social media.
It is common for kids to pick up on these things and become fearful during these crazy times.
So how can we help our children feel safe and secure during all of this? Here are some steps.
Monitor how much exposure kids have to the news. While most protests and riots have been peaceful, many have not. Media is showing images of fires, looting and violence.
Children do not have the emotional security to understand what they are seeing and it can lead to fear, insecurity and sadness.
Talk with kids. It's important to talk with children about what they are seeing and hearing in an age appropriate way. Help them understand what is happening. If you don't, they will try to fill in the blanks themselves and may come to scary and frightening conclusions in their mind. They may even think someone is coming to get them.
As parents and leaders, we are called to walk through these times with our children and have the wisdom to help guide them through it. And during these crazy times, we must check our children's emotional temperature and help them adjust it as needed.
Be a safe place where kids can ask questions. Find out what they are thinking and reassure them that you will keep them safe. Let them know there is a great group of people that are working hard to keep everyone safe.
Stay positive. Use positive words. Built up others rather than tearing them down. Empower your child through your actions and displayed emotions.
Model the behavior you want to see in your children. Kids will pick up on how you are responding. Make sure you model what you want their response to be as well.
Encourage kids to be proactive. They can encourage other kids who are experiencing fear by talking with them about it. Equip them to be the leaders who can bring about the change that is so desperately needed in these days.