What Children – and You – Need Most

By Jennifer Reid |
April 07, 2020 |
Children's Mental Health

What Children – and You – Need Most

by Jennifer Reid

By now, you’ve been inundated with emails, social media posts, and guidance from every corner of the world on how to structure your days with your children at home and become sudden home-school parents. Add to that all of the tips for social distancing and how to talk with children about a pandemic, what a virus is, and why the playground is closed.

It’s time to push all of that to the side and trust yourself.

When there are things in life that we cannot control, we are the strongest – and the wisest – when we focus our energy on what we can control. You can control what you offer to your children each day.

What do children need most right now?

First, children need to know that the adults in their lives have a handle on things. Depending on the age of the child, this message needs to convey that parents have a handle on keeping the home safe and that other adults in the community are working to keep the community safe. Younger children only need and want to know about their own bubble. Older children need and want to have some sense of what is going on outside as well.

Second, children need adults to be present. Be with your children, notice their feelings, praise their efforts. Save catching up on the news or talking about global, political, economic, and health issues for times when you are certain they cannot hear you.

When parents communicate that they are present and have a handle on the situation, children feel safe. That in and of itself is the structure children need and the rest will fall into place.