I know I have not written in forever, but I wanted to open up the dialogue as to how COVID19 is impacting our kids. I write this from the perspective of a family that does not have the news on if the kids are awake and our children are too young for social media.
But, they go to school… Where other kids do not have the same setup in their home.
A few days ago, Turkey-Man, who is now 9, complained that he is so tired of hearing about the virus. With no exposure to news or social media at home, that is how much it is being discussed among his classmates. We are talking about third-graders. Elementary school.
We sat down and had a talk about the coming weeks and some of the things that may start to happen. I reassured them the risk to them is very low, but it is important that we keep this from spreading any further.
One of the big things we discussed has come to fruition. Today is now the last day of school for our kids for three weeks. We parents were told that kids will be bringing home all personal belongings along with educational material to complete at home.
Today, we had a two-hour delay, presumably so the staff has a moment to get things ready before the influx of students arrives. With the extra time at home this morning, we had some time to talk. I was surprised when Turkey-man turned to me and said, “Mommy, I feel angry today.”
We talked through it and he could not pinpoint why he felt angry. I tried giving him names of other emotions to see if any of those fit instead. “Mommy, I feel angry” translated to worried and stressed about so much uncertainty. He is headed off to school today with knowing only that it will most likely not be a “routine” day. Nor will anything be routine for weeks to come.
His description of “angry” was actually little to do with actually being angry and a whole lot more to do with the fact that kids have a limited vocabulary on describing their emotions. They act out or become irritable. They cry when they normally would not. They know they feel off, but cannot always tell us and talk through it like we adults can.
PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY PARENTS, THIS IS WHERE WE STEP IN AND STEP UP. WE ARE THE COMPASS FOR THESE CHILDREN ON HOW TO REACT TO THIS SITUATION.
My concern for the well-being of my children through this is low. For the vast majority of children, the risk is low for physical ramifications. However, the risk is high for emotional ones if calm heads do not start prevailing.
If you are preparing like an apocalypse is going to happen, what message are children receiving? If you are allowing the news to run while the kids are around, what message are they receiving? If you are on social media obsessing over every new development, what message are they receiving? It is not healthy for us to panic or obsess, but even more so, it makes it that much worse for the children looking to us to get them through it all.
Be reasonably prepared. Stay informed to the degree necessary for your situation.
And, then, be focused on letting the kids be kids as much as possible. Protect them. Be patient with abnormal behavior in the weeks to come. Validate that they are feeling the stress of it all as well. Help them to appropriately work through their emotions in a healthy manner.
While their physical health is not nearly as much at risk, their mental well-being is. We need to do better for them!