How are you?  It’s a strange time right now, isn’t it?  Unprecedented.  Complacency is turning into fear.  Panic buying.  Events being cancelled.  Schools & many workplaces probably going to be closed.  Empty supermarket shelves.  

And yet, amongst all this, amazing stories of connection.  Of blue skies over China.  Of Italians singing together from their houses & flats whilst in lockdown.  Of people helping the less fortunate.

So how are you feeling?  How are your kids?

I’m sure you’re talking with your children beautifully – in age appropriate language & descriptions.  I’m sure you’re reminding them to wash their hands & are reassuring them that you’re keeping them safe.

But there are times when words aren’t enough.  When reassurances bounce off.  And the fears remain.

So how can you help your children when they’re afraid?

– listen when they want to talk or cry about the situation.  
Don’t worry that it may be too scary or upsetting for them to talk about it.  If they’re expressing it to you, it becomes much more manageable out, than swirling around in their head.  

So stop, listen, offer empathy and let them express everything they’re feeling.  When they’ve release their upset, they’ll be able to hear your reassurances much more.

– listen when they become upset about unrelated issues  
Most likely your child won’t want to talk about the virus.  But instead their upset feelings will come out on smaller, more tangible things.  Such as the wrong coloured plate, or something seemingly insignificant.

Stop, listen & offer empathy in these moments too.  When your child cries, they’re releasing upset feelings about things deeper than just the initial incident.  

– PLAY!  Of course….!  
Play bypasses the rational part of the mind, which starts to shut down when stressed, and goes straight to the emotional part of the brain.  So play will help heal your child’s emotional fears.  

Play games to help your child feel powerful again.  Wrestling, chasing, pillow fights, etc.  Allow your child to ‘win’.

Laughter is a fantastic stress release & play helps strengthen their sense of connection with you – both of which are going to help them release their fears.

Play will also help your child learn better.  If / when schools close, you’re probably going to have to be at home with them.  Instead of being serious about school work all the time, weave in as much play as you can.  Your child will respond better & learn better when they are feeling more relaxed & connected with you.

– Work on your own feelings of stress about the situation
Don’t dismiss your fears or stress.  Don’t push it down.  Or feel that you shouldn’t be stressed because you’re not in as bad a situation as someone else.

Your emotions & fears are valid.  Release them.  

Journalling is helpful.  But the most effective thing is to offload them with someone.  Cry, vent, complain, do whatever you need to do to explore & release your upset feelings about this.  It IS a stressful time.  

I offer 1:1 coaching, so click here to book.

Or reach out to a friend who isn’t afraid of upset feelings and understands the process.  

The more you can you work on your own feelings, the more you’ll be able to support your child with theirs.

And the more you can work on your feelings, the more you can reach out and support those around you.  The effects are more wide-reaching than just your immediate family and will be felt throughout your community.  

Sending you & your family lots of love in these challenging times.  xx

About the Author Helena Mooney

Parenting Mentor specialising in Aware Parenting and Hand in Hand Parenting.

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