On the Pea Green Boat, we're sharing resources to help parents and kids navigate through the coronavirus situation. Tune in Fridays at 4 for more resources, tips and discussions about kids and coronavirus. We'll add more links and resources here as we find them.
Erin Williams visited the Pea Green Boat via phone and we talked about ways to handle stressful situations. For me, holding baby goats helps me deal with stress. For Erin, being with her horses. For both of, us chocolate ice cream.
Here are Erin's recommendations for helping kids through this stressful situation:
Encourage your kids to come to you to talk when they are experiencing big emotions about the changes in all of our lives. This will help build trust between you and your child. Even if you do not have all of the answers to their questions, you are demonstrating that you are caring, kind and a wise adult. One of our jobs as caregivers to help regulate emotions, and this COVID 19 crisis calls for a lot of conversations with our kids to help them with feelings that may be too big for them at times.
Watch for your child to "miscue" their need for closeness, comfort or connection. Sometimes children will "miscue" us and push us away when what they actually need is comfort and connection from us. Override their "miscue" by parenting with wisdom and kindness. Talk out loud to your child and guess how they might be feeling; ie disappointed, uncertain, anxious, silly etc.
Finally, help kids "create different emotions", hopefully positive ones! Kids can play outside, do 15 minutes of intense exercise, bake, watch a fun movie, play music, do art projects. All of these activities will help reset their emotional state. You are providing scaffolding for them to move on to more positive emotions.
Good luck everyone and enjoy your time with your children!
Erin Williams, LCPC
Clinical and Program Director