Households across the nation are learning to cope with the all-encompassing changes and anxieties brought on by COVID-19. In addition to economic hardship, concern about your own health, and uncertainty about the future, you may be facing the challenge of explaining the current situation to your child and helping them through the immense changes they’ve experienced. Today’s post features a few different ways in which you can talk to your child and help them cope with our current circumstances.
At Fairell Roy & Associates, we understand that this is an incredibly difficult time for many of our readers. We are regularly hosting live Q&A sessions on our Facebook page throughout the week and would be happy to help you in any way we can. If you would like to speak to a family law attorney regarding divorce, child support, or child custody, please get in touch with our office to schedule a virtual consultation.
Five Ways to Help Your Child
First and foremost, do your best to remain calm and level-headed around your child. If you’re scared, they’ll feel scared, too. It’s perfectly fine to feel fear, anxiety, and other negative emotions, but your child will follow your example. Lead by example and maintain a calm demeanor as much as possible, especially when discussing anything relating to COVID-19.
Explain the Importance of Social Distancing
Depending on your child’s age, they may not fully understand why they haven’t been able to see their friends or participate in group activities. Start by explaining that they aren’t being punished and that this won’t last forever. Tell them that your family is closely following recommendations set by doctors at the CDC, which means staying away from other people as much as possible.
Many children will feel sad and frustrated that they can’t see their friends, even if they understand why it’s happening. It can be tempting to immediately shift your focus to something more positive, but you should first let them know that their feelings are valid and understandable. This is a time of immense hardship and difficulty for people of all ages, and that shouldn’t be overshadowed by well-intentioned conversation changes. Acknowledging your child’s feelings first will build trust and confidence, allowing you to eventually pivot to positivity without glossing over how they feel.
Keep a Routine
As we discussed in one of our previous posts, maintaining a routine is one of the best ways to keep yourself physically and emotionally well. Keep bedtime the same, don’t let junk food become the norm, and make it clear that although things are different, your household expectations remain the same. If your child is used to getting their physical activity during the school day, make time for socially distanced walks at some point during the day.
Focus on the Positive
As we noted above, you don’t have to be overly positive right now — accepting that there’s hardship in your life and in the lives of others is an important part of coping with our circumstances.
That said, focusing on positive aspects of your current situation can go a long way toward helping you and your child maintain good mental health. For instance, when was the last time you had this much time together? Now is a perfect time to play board games, watch movies, and do everything else that you’re normally too busy to do.
Talk to the Other Parent
All of these tips are fantastic ways to help your child cope, but they won’t work as well if you share custody and the other parent isn’t on board.
As you find ways to work these tips into your life, talk with the other parent and see if you can find a way to keep the communication as consistent as possible between visits. The more stability your child has in their life, the better they’ll be able to cope and recover from the changes.
If you and the other parent aren’t on good terms, you may need the help of a family law attorney. The attorneys at Fairell Roy & Associates have kept up with all of the latest developments relating to COVID-19 and family law, and we’re here to help you and your family get through this.
Call or email our office for a no-risk virtual consultation to discuss your needs.