As the days and weeks blur together, there is a danger for anxiety and hopelessness to take root in our children. Kids are experiencing new routines, dealing with different expectations, while still trying to maintain some sense of “normal.” How do we comfort our children and give them hope during this time?
1. Conversation and Questions
Anxiety is a response to feelings of danger or loss of control. Children may feel anxious due to a new routine (or lack of routine), too much media input, or missing out on valued activities. Kids often struggle finding words to express their feelings. Take time to discuss what your child is feeling. A feelings chart (one you can print online) is a great tool to help younger kids label what they are feeling and guide you in a conversation.
2. Modeling Management
Handling anxiety well is part of being healthy, but it is a learned skill. Children learn emotional management from their parents. They need to see their parents taking their concerns to the Lord and trusting Him to be faithful. This is a great time to remind our children that we will experience trouble and suffering in this life but that our suffering can lead to endurance, character and hope. (Romans 5:3-5)
3. Redeem and Revive
Children have given up much and may be dealing with feelings of disappointment due to canceled activities, and missed social opportunities. Try to find ways to redeem the experiences your child may be missing out on, even if it's not how you originally envisioned. Make experiences with your family special and include your child in planning a family night or activity. Allowing your child to help plan the daily schedule and giving them chores and activities to complete will foster a sense of purpose throughout the week.
Kendyl Hensley, LPC