NEW RESOURCE: A Kid’s Guide to Coronavirus by Rebecca Growe MSW, LCSW and Julia Martin Burch, PhD (order books at maginationpress.org or call 1-800-374-2721)
Crisis and Everyday Life. Resources and tips for parents during times of crisis and everyday life are very important. Check out our tips for Parenting during the COVID 19 virus and Parent Comments & Pictures and Resources below. Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org any questions, concerns, or suggestions you may have to offer.
Parenting during the COVID 19 virus:
How our world has changed in such a short time! Some of us are trying to work from home with our children there as well. Some of us are not working at all. Almost everyone is realizing the impact on our economy, home-life, and mental health. Some of us are struggling with how to answer our children’s questions or what to tell them if they seem upset (or don’t). Our faith will help us as we deal with this. We would also like to offer the following recommendations:
- Be honest with your children. The truth is we don’t know much more than we do know. They really don’t expect us to have all the answers but they do want our honesty. On the other side of that, please assure them that some very smart people are studying this and looking for the best answers.
- Some children will express worries and fears and other will not. Please let them know that there are time when everyone gets worried or fearful. This is when we have faith that good people are doing their best to help make it better. Also be aware that while your child may not express his/her fear or worry that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Be open to them and their moods without putting forth fear is necessary for their well-being.
- Please schedule some time each day for walking, swimming in your pool, or playing in your yard with them. Those times, plus a quiet time together at bedtime, give them the opportunity to open up to you to tell you of their concerns.
- Keeping a weekly schedule will help give them confidence in their lives. School work, play, chores, meal times, quiet times, etc. on a regular schedule helps to restore a sense of order for them. News reports do not. While it may seem necessary for you to stay up to date with the latest, too much is not healthy for you either. Studies show that this is harmful to children.
- Below are 3 free sites to help entertain while educating your child. Please feel free to share some you may have discovered with us.
- Check out this site from the life of Mr. Rogers. He is still a wealth of information and a caring man who continues to support children and parents. https://www.inquirer.com/philly/blogs/entertainment/television/America-turns-to-Mister-Rogers-in-times-of-disturbance.html
Parent Comments & Pictures
From Beth with Megan:We are all doing great here. Megan is happy to be learning on the computer, and there are enough kids around the neighborhood that she can see them (at a distance) a few times a week. She has picked up a couple of dog-walking jobs and loves to help out around the house. Today we tried something new: making butter. It was fun, easy, and a useful product in our home. We get lots of time outdoor for walks and exploring nature, learning what we can as we are out. We have also become enthusiastic “Uno” players.
From Kristel with Margaux: (Already signed up for summer camp!)
From Natalie with Colette: The best that has been helping us daily is a schedule. Colette has written her own schedule and it has been working well. We asked her to balance outside time with screen time and homework time.
From Susie with Elijah and Emilia: I set things up on Sundays and every evening, and we are both zooming with teachers. It’s been difficult, but doable.
From Leslie with Henry – What’s working for us:— Taking at least 30 min a day for physical activity has been huge for us. Bike riding, kite flying, making paper airplanes and flying them outside, running through an old-fashioned sprinkler, bubble making races, raking leaves. — Using an app for a 5 -10 minute morning exercise in mindfulness practice. Through Sarasota County School District, we are able to use the I AM PRESENT app, geared toward kids, for free. — Having the kids select a recipe from their kids’ cookbook, make the shopping list, create and serve the dish (getting them to help with cleaning up the aftermath is another matter…)– Seeing this home-based schooling as a unique opportunity to deepen my understanding of how my child learns; and, reminding myself of this gift on days when I’m feeling overwhelmed by the responsibilities of overseeing the home-schooling. What’s not working:— Surfing the web for COVID 19 updates every night before bed
From Chip Schaaff, Counselor, Father, and Grandfather – (summarized from pages 15-25)
Talking with Your Child About a Troubled World by Lynn Dumas
16 Rules of Thumb for talking with your child about anything
1) CREATE AN OPEN ENVIRONMENT: Your child should sense an open atmosphere where any question, any issue, can be asked freely and without fear of consequences. Let your children know that you value their curiosity.
2) CONSIDER YOUR CHILD’S OWN TEMPERMENT: Whether your child is easy going or fussy, outgoing or shy, bold or reserved, you can accept their nature while keeping conversation going by seeing it from their point of view first.
3) RESPECT YOUR CHILD’S FEELINGS: Let him know that his feelings are important and her feelings count. This will also help you tune into the clues about when she’s had enough information for now.
4) KNOW YOUR CHILD’S COGNITIVE LIMITS: There are limits to what children can understand at each developmental level. To start any conversation, find out what your child already knows and clarify what he is really asking.
5) ALWAYS BE HONEST: That speaks for itself!
6) IF YOU DON’T KNOW SOMETHING, ADMIT IT: Kids will accept “I don’t know” and “Let’s find out”. Postponing your answer is okay as is “I’m not sure, let me think about that” or “That’s a good question. Let’s talk when I’ve finished (the chore I’m doing,” e.g.).
7) DON’T LEAVE BIG GAPS: While you may not want or need to share all the details of a particular issue or situation, remember, children will try to fill in their own answers.
8) BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU PROMISE: Never promise a child something about which you have no control. Suppose Grandma became ill and had to go to the hospital and your 10 year old says “I’m worried Grandma will die”. Try not to falsely assure that child by promising “Grandma will be just fine” if you are not sure she will. It is better to reflect back to the child the emotion you suspect the child is feeling like “It can be scary when someone has to go to the hospital.”
9) USE AGE-APPROPRIATE LANGUAGE: Use simple words and straight forward explanations, and trust your parental instincts as to the language your child can understand.
10) GET FEEDBACK: This is one of the best ways to figure out if your child has understood you. Also, let a little time pass after an important discussion and then ask what he remembers about the conversation and did he have any more questions.
11) LISTEN PATIENTLY: Sometimes it takes a while for a child to ask the question or to get the story out and we, as adults, might be tempted to guess where the child is going or provide answers to questions yet unasked. Take a breath and resist the impulse to mind-read or speak too soon. Children process in their own way.
12) GIVE YOURSELF SOME TIME OUT: Don’t try discussing something until you are physically and/or emotionally prepared to do so. Just ask for time out with the promise that you will set a time when you will be available.
13) ESTABLISH EYE CONTACT: So much meaning can be seen by looking, and non-verbal clues from your child (or spouse!) will help you be in better connection. If a discussion is important and needs to be handled well, we need to eliminate the distracters like phone or TV that pull us visually away and, instead, create an environment for watching as well as for listening.
14) SPEAK SEPARATELY TO CHILDREN OF DIFFERENT AGES: This should be obvious from #2, #4 and #9 above.
15) EXAMINE YOUR OWN MOTIVES: This will come up if you feel a need to talk about something that perhaps your child has no interest in. If talking about something has more to do with making you feel better than with helping your children, you may want to think twice before bringing up the issue again.
16) KNOW WHEN YOUR CHILD NEED PROFESSIONAL HELP: You probably already know some of the ways or symptoms your child may exhibit in times of fear, sadness, anger or confusion. If your child shows a significant change in his or her ability to function in the major areas of life, he or she may need professional help. If you do believe that your child (or you) need help, contact a professional organization, a community mental health group, your doctor or your pastor.
For free crisis counseling for students: www.crisistextline.org or text SCHOOL to 741741
An excellent book in the area of communicating with children is aptly named How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and How to Listen so Kids Will Talk by Adele Farber and Elaine Mazlish
Some faith-based resources for parents and children:
Vibrant Faith http://www.vibrantfaithathome.org/
Faithful Families: Creating Sacred Practices in the Home by Traci Smith https://chalicepress.com/products/faithful-families-at-home-15-easy-family-friendly-prayers-and-activities?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIgIuQ3Ojy6AIVBeXICh3riAEEEAAYASAAEgKc5fD_BwE
Home Grown Handbook for Children and Parenting https://www.faithaliveresources.org/Products/151370/home-grown-handbook-for-christian-parenting.aspx
Sharon Ely Pearson https://rowsofsharon.com/