By Ocean Noah
In the era of COVID-19, there is a whirlwind of information coming at you on a daily basis.
So, if your kids need to know about the coronavirus pandemic, they may as well hear it from you – their well-informed parents.
Indeed, we are experiencing the most serious national crisis since the terrorist attacks on 9/11. How old were you when that happened? Do you remember how you received information about the tragic events, and how this made you feel?
Now it’s your turn to put on the informer hat.
While this is a heavy responsibility for you, Pretzel Kids yoga is here with guidance on how to talk to kids about the coronavirus. Take a look at our top 3 tips.
1. Encourage and Answer Questions
This is a scary time for everyone, and you might want to protect your kids from the fear by telling them as little as possible about what’s going on.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to shelter your children from a situation like this, so don’t be afraid to share your concerns and thoughts with your kids.
While transparency is important, it is also crucial for you to process your fear on your own time before you talk to your kids. This way you’ll be coming from a place of certainty and calm.
For starters, make sure that you’re mentally ready to discuss current affairs and ask your children if they are ready, too. Here are some nice and easy conversation starters:
- Do you have any questions about the coronavirus?
- Is now a good time for me to share some important information with you?
- How are you feeling about all that’s going on? Do you want to talk?
- This must be so difficult for you. It’s okay to feel whatever you’re feeling about all of these changes.
- Let’s take a few minutes to learn how to properly wash our hands together.
With these conversation starters and a clear mind, you’ll be ready to have a constructive and supportive discussion about how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting your lives.
2. You Don’t Have to Know Everything
You might not want to bring your child’s attention to an issue you don’t completely understand. Or, you may simply want to discuss more pleasant topics like what’s for dinner or which board game your kids would prefer to play tonight.
This makes total sense. Yet, this isn’t an excuse for ignoring the news altogether or making up information when you want to change the truthful narrative.
The world is being challenged to sit with uncertainty for a long time. So, you don’t have to know all of the answers to start a conversation with your child about what’s going on.
Perhaps you can even tell them that there are some things you don’t know and that you will keep them updated. Then, tell them what you do know. And don’t be afraid to speak confidently and honestly.
Something else to keep in the back of your mind: Kids worry more if they’re kept in the dark, according to Child Mind Institute.
3. Process Fear on Your Own Time
Mindfulness is the perfect way to help process your own fears and anxieties around COVID-19. This way you can support your kids with a clear head.
So, take time to sit with your own thoughts, and practice a bit of mindfulness before talking about difficult things with your kids. A meditation and yoga practice can also help by giving you tools to accept the things you can’t change – and change the things you don’t want to accept.
And, don’t leave your kids out of the fun and clarity mindfulness and yoga brings! Invite them to join you in meditation, mindfulness and yoga. Mindfulness has many benefits for children, especially at a time like this. Besides, even teens and young adults can benefit greatly from mindfulness activities for kids.
Don’t know where to start? Many resources are available to parents right now, including Pretzel Kids yoga’s new course: How to Teach Mindfulness to Kids from Home. You can also check out the apps Headspace and Calm, which offer some free guided meditations to alleviate stress at this time. I wake up early every morning to meditate and write in my journal before I start my day. I find that taking a little time to take care of my mind while processing my thoughts and feelings makes a huge difference in my overall wellbeing.
Pretzel Kids yoga also offers online kids yoga classes for the whole family! Among the many benefits of yoga for all ages, kids yoga keeps you active, mindful, and emotionally and physically healthy. Yoga is also a great way to get outside if possible – while maintaining social distancing guidelines in your community.
Keep Calm and Informed
There is no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic is a stressful time for everyone. The best way to protect your kids right now is to keep them informed, safe and healthy.
So, don’t be fearful if you need to step up to the plate and have a hard conversation with your children. You can be courageous, vulnerable, and honest. All at the same time.
Keep this in mind, too: When the worst of the coronavirus pandemic is over, you and your kids will have gained some new lifelong skills, including mindfulness, resilience, honesty, and courage.
You’ve got this! ?