When the world gets scary…
Here’s my take on how how to support children during these difficult times 🤍
While older children may be able to say why they are worried, with younger children we might see it in the form of clinginess, frustration, regression or withdrawal. Validate that they are worried or scared. Reassure them it’s ok to feel this way. We can’t promise anything will be different. We can give them the chance to express how they are feeling.
Offer non-verbal opportunities for expression of feelings. Sometimes it’s too hard to put into words. Art and role play are great non-verbal ways to express feelings.
If they don’t already have one, now is a good time to start developing an emotional tool-box (see my previous post). These strategies can help when we don’t feel ok inside, and at the moment, this may be more true than ever.
Mr. Rogers said it best – “look for the helpers, you will always find people who are helping” – in a world where we feel helpless it can be reassuring to know there are lots of people doing things to help where they can. Some children might want to know how they can help too.
Be mindful of what information they are exposed to through tv, radio, papers with pictures, overhearing conversations. They pick up on more than we realise.
Always be honest, but keep the Information age-appropriate.
Keep things in place that give children security – rhythm and routine, hugs, spending time with family or in nature. In scary or difficult times, the presence of regularity and rhythm is comforting.
Always focus on connection above all else. Connection, fun, joy and love are the things ground us, nurture us, build our resilience and keep us emotionally safe.
Last but by no means least, it’s important that we keep our own resilience and well-being topped up, even if just in small, everyday ways 🤍