Dear 12th grader, I know these last few weeks have not been what you thought they would be. You had all of these plans. You have worked so hard to get here. Your dreams feel like they are slipping away. It’s just not fair. You …
Author: Beth Trammell
As we recently received news that social distancing will continue for another month, I thought I would share some ideas for you to consider as we are entering another month of social distancing with our kids. I recently made a post about why COVID-19 is …
As I have been in meetings with different folks about mental wellness during this unprecedented time in our history, I have heard and felt similar things that make this pandemic especially hard. I thought I would share them here in case anyone else was feeling particularly down today. Know that you are not alone.
1. We are not used to feeling so many emotions at once, for such a long period of time.
Most of us are experiencing a wide range of emotions on a daily basis, from fear to anger, sadness to anxiety and so many more! All at once, sometimes overwhelmingly so. And many of us also have experienced the weight of these emotions for days and weeks on end to this point. In short, many of us are in deep emotions more frequently now than ever before.
This is hard because emotional awareness and expression are both skills that take practice. As we are overwhelmed, we might be feeling many things at once and the burden of those emotions are making us feel tired (both physically and emotionally).
Take a breath. Seriously. Like right now, take a deep breath. In through your nose and out through your mouth. Close your eyes for a moment and just listen to your breath for a few breaths in and out. This simple breathing technique can help keep you grounded and mindful – especially during intense emotional moments. Beyond that – realize that it’s okay to experience lots of emotions at once. Emotions won’t actually physically hurt us. We don’t have to be afraid of them. But we do have to honor them. So for a moment, take time to sit in how you are feeling. Write it down. Shout it out. Share it with a friend via text, phone or video message.
2. Most of us feel uncomfortable with having to repeatedly say, “I don’t know.”
Almost all of us like to feel like we are in control of things happening in our current situation. Even if you aren’t a “control freak,” you like to feel like things are in order and make sense. Right now, there are so many uncertainties. How long will this last? Will my family get sick? Will we be able to go back to work soon? Will things get better soon? Will the kids go back to school? On and on and on. Time and again, I have heard of the “uncertainty” and “unpredictability” as being “the hardest part.” And the truth is, we simply do not know.
If you find yourself becoming irritable or anxious with not having answers to the millionth question from your kid that you have to say, “I don’t know” to, come back to that same breathing exercise. Don’t allow the anxiety of not knowing take over. Simply say, “You know bud, I don’t know. And there are lots of things we don’t know right now. But what I do know is….(fill in the blank for what you DO know right now…) I like being home with you right now.” or “I love to be able to play with you today.” or “I love that we are getting to each lunch together.” It doesn’t need to be profound, it just needs to be honest about something tangible for your kid to see.
3. There is nothing to fix.
We are hurting, our people are hurting, and there is nothing to fix. At least not anything that will make everyone happy. Most of us like to fix things when people we love need help. That’s just the truth. And when there is nothing to fix, it can leave us feeling hopeless and helpless. If you have felt like there is no hope, let me encourage you with a few amazing ways this pandemic has impacted my community and family. And I would WELCOME the ways YOU have seen positive around you.
- The most amazing teacher parades happening
- Using technology to keep kids connected to their teachers AND peers
- Finding creative ways to get outside everyday – even in the rain!
- Community leaders coming TOGETHER for the good of everyone
- Loving words on the sidewalk in chalk
- Video message, after video message, after video message of people we love connecting with us
- Human kindness for our front line workers who are truly heroes
- Courage from individuals who step out to help others in need
- FEEDING more than 40,000 people. Like literally feeding the community. Bravo!
- And so so many more.
What are you seeing?? Comment or share!
Looking for some tips on how to talk about COVID-19 and answer their questions? Look no further! Give this short video a look and be sure to Follow us on Facebook for even more updates @ https://www.facebook.com/MWMwithKids/ Click HERE to watch the video! …
This morning, I woke up early to head out to the grocery to grab a few things we were running low on around the house. I had a relatively short list of items – flour, ground turkey, rice, laundry detergent, and noodles. I hadn’t been …
As we continue to grapple with the seemingly unending changes, we are continuing to find resources for sharing these changes with our kids. I have come up with an acronym (PRESS) to help us remember how to talk with our kids about hard things – like the coronavirus (or any other hard/emotional topic for that matter – sex, loss, death, divorce, etc.). PRESS in (or lean in) to the conversation!
P – PREPARE.
Ahead of time, before talking with kids, prepare for the conversation – like you would any other “presentation” at work. Know the facts. Don’t guess. Don’t hypothesize. Don’t tell them what you “have heard.” Only gather information from credible websites – like CDC or NIH. And be prepared to answer their question with “I don’t know.”
R – REFLECT.
Take a moment, or day, to reflect on your specific child. What do they NEED to know? Some kids need less, or no information at all, about coronavirus. Others may need more information to ease their anxiety. The point here is to reflect on what will help each of your specific children the most. And know that sometimes that means only talking about staying home together instead of going to school. Also, take a minute to think about a time when you can incorporate this discussion into everyday conversation. This should be a conversation that doesn’t feel like a big, “sit-down”. Reflect on ways to thread the next three steps into everyday conversations to keep it low-key, not to evoke unnecessary worry.
E – EXPLORE.
This part is really the first step in actually talking to them. Before you share what you have prepared and reflected on, explore what they currently know. This will help you correct misinformation and expand what they currently know. Ask open-ended questions like, “What do you know about coronavirus?” or “What have you heard about…” or “What are you curious about related to ….” – notice, I did not mention any phrases like, “What are you scared about?” or “What are you worried about?” Unless they are currently experiencing those emotions, we don’t want to suggest those emotions during this conversation. Basically, if we ask the question that way, we are suggested to them that they have something they should be scared of. And we certainly don’t want to do that.
S – SHARE.
This is when you share what you know. “Here’s what I know…” Or “Here’s what I have found…” Remember, only share what you know is necessary for your child. Answer their questions honestly and concisely. If you aren’t sure how much to share with your specific child, as a friend who knows your child well, how much they think you should share.
S – ReaSSURE.
This part is really important. After talking about it, immediately reassure them that they are safe and secure. That they are okay and ways to continue to stay healthy. Beyond just the immediate conversation, remember to reassure them daily.
We have all been experiencing the disappointment, frustration, sadness, confusion…. about missing out on our favorite things right now. They have cancelled our favorite classes, our favorite activities, closed our favorite restaurants and local gyms. In one way or another, all of us have felt …
As the world is reacting and coming together in response to the recent changes to our everyday lives, I have been contacted a few times to share thoughts on how to best talk with our kids about what is happening. So here are a few …
This message is for anyone who feels bad if their child does not perform well on the field. Their performance is not a reflection of you. You don’t have to feel bad or embarrassed. You don’t have to defend his or her behavior. You simply support the coach and your child as they continue to grow and develop.
If you are going home feeling defeated after a game, you may want to take a moment to reflect on what your overall goal for your child is. Perhaps you are putting more into it than needs to happen right now. If you are stressed about how well they are doing, talk to the coach for some perspective. You are not ruining your 5th-grader’s chance at a college scholarship by missing a game. Take the pressure off of yourself (and your child) and simply enjoy the sport for what it is. And what it is supposed to be! Fun!
Now…. if your child is angry, screaming at the coach or referee, throwing things, etc. Then that might be a parenting issue. It might mean we need more structure around the expectations of participating in competitive sports.
Check out this short video to summarize this point!
photo cred Đàm Tướng Quân
I’m just gonna come out with this…. your child may not be the most talented athlete out there. Or maybe they have the most talent, but lack some maturity. Or emotional control. None of our kids is going to be the BEST at everything all …