The Pandemic: How To Talk About It With Your ChildrenApr 2, 2020
I have two children. Only one of which is old enough to understand that the world doesn’t make sense right now. She’s been asking a lot of questions like, “Why can’t we play at the park” or “Why is Papa still working from the game room” or “Why is soccer still canceled”…
If you are staying at home and have little ones that need help understanding why, feel free to try a few of these action items below.
Remain calm. Children feed off of our emotion. They are like sponges – absorbing everything we say and do almost automatically. Then they imitate us. You might be concerned, but there’s no need to make your children anxious. Keep your emotions in check before you can help them.
Listen to your children’s questions. Your children might be confused, upset, or fearful. Whatever they are expressing to you at this time….validate them. Nod your head, make eye contact, tell them “it makes sense that you would feel this way” and give them a hug. Then let them know that all of this was in God’s plan and we don’t need to be surprised or worried. He is in control. That may seem obvious to us as adults, but we must over-communicate with our children in order for them to learn.
Focus on truth. It’s great to trust field experts, schools, and organizations such as the World Health Organization. Deliver these updates delicately with your children. Depending on their age and emotional capacity, you will need to alter messages accordingly. Ultimately, focus on the Bible. You don’t have to preach at them and make them memorize scripture every day. Simply have a conversation about a certain Bible story and how it relates to what’s going on today.
Follow the rules. This is pretty simple (not easy, but simple). If your federal government says to stay inside, stay inside. Disinfect your house, wash your hands, don’t touch your eyes or mouth unless your hands are clean, stay at home if you are sick. Practice social distancing. Don’t “panic buy” things that other people might need more than you. Don’t take any risks that might expose you to the virus (you could easily pass it on to someone more vulnerable than you).
Pray. This is a great opportunity to gather your loved ones and spend time in prayer. Involve your children as you best you can. If they are able to speak, let them pray. If they lose focus easily, let them write or draw their prayers out on paper. If they enjoy activities more than words, have them express their prayers, worries, questions, in chalk outside. Get creative. Let them know God hears each and every prayer and that this is the most important thing we can do as people.
Love others. Check on elderly people that you know. Call a single friend who might be bored at home alone. Video chat with parents and grandparents to keep them connected. Write letters, text, Google hangout, Zoom with your friends.