Priya Thomas, MD, FAAP
A new virus has changed the world as we know it. As we learn our new norm and cope with the challenges that comes with the changes, here are some tips to help your child adjust well.
1. Answer your child’s why questions! Children are curious by nature. Yes, you should be mindful of the about what and how much ‘news’ your child is hearing around the pandemic, but nevertheless, they may have questions such as “why can’t I play with my friends” “why are people dying”. Answer the why questions honestly. If your child is expressing fear over what is going on, acknowledge their emotions as valid, but assure them of their safety with you.
Fred Rogers once said “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of disaster I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers-so many caring people in this world”.
Talk to your child about all the helpers in this pandemic. This will help reorient their fears.
2. Practice gratitude. While there is a lot of difficult changes and it may even be a time of economic hardship of your family, practicing gratitude with your child for the little things in life can be helpful. Asking your child of two or three things they are grateful for at the end of the day reveals how they are processing the day and their emotions.
I have been practicing this with my 5 year old and one night she said “Mama, I am thankful that even when I mess up, your love for me never changes”-that was unexpected and profound coming from her.
Children have big hearts and big feelings, and practicing gratitude is very helpful.
3. Celebrate your child. Disruption in schedules and routines, learning academics in a new setting inability to physically see friends- all these are challenging and difficult for your child. They are making big adjustments. Acknowledge the challenges for your child and celebrate them for showing resilience.
Our goal is to help your child and your family thrive in all stages in life, even during this pandemic. If your child is having a difficult time adjusting to the new changes, please call our office. We can set up a telehealth visit to help.