A Note from CPES School Counselor, Lisa Lujan
Currently, we are in the midst of some of the most difficult times we will ever experience in our lifetime. The world around us, and perhaps even more directly in our own homes, is filled with anxiety, sadness and fear. As adults, we struggle to cope, yet we are more equipped than our children. Whether your children are concerned about the pandemic, recent events in the news concerning racial inequalities, food security, their friendships or their parents’ job- please utilize the tips below to support them through this time.
- They will always tell you what they need. As adults we like to talk-just listen.
- Answer their questions honestly using language that they can understand.
- Only answer what they are asking – do not expand or add to. They will let you know if they need more information.
- It’s ok to tell kids “I don’t have an answer to that.” Or “I don’t know when this will be over.” Then follow it up with “How does that make you feel?”
- It’s ok to tell kids you feel worried or sad but not specifics about what is making you feel that way. Focus more on how you help yourself feel better – concrete examples.
- Less is more. Don’t over expose young children to current events. Limit watching the news with them around or having in-depth adult conversations where they can overhear.
- Stick to what you know and what you can control. Avoid talking about what you can’t control. (Example- Don’t discuss running out of supplies or what you would do if you get sick. Do discuss prevention- washing hands, social distancing.)
- Have conversations. Be proactive when you can. Allow children to make connections to current events either in their own lives or others. (For example : Everyone has the same rules, rights and privileges at school. It doesn’t matter what you look like.)
- Check In. Do a feelings temperature check at least once a week. Set aside a time in your day where your child feels comfortable having these hard conversations.
- Avoid talking about hard topics at bedtime! It is natural for that quiet, snuggly time before bed to seem like a good time to talk, but after you walk away- they may lay in the dark dwelling on what you just discussed.
- Remind children (especially older ones!) that their peers do not always have all the facts. A lot of misinformation is shared peer to peer. Encourage them to talk to you or a trusted adult.
- Build routines for your children! They need them even when our traditional routines are no longer happening. Create new ones. Give them new responsibilities, chores or habits. Keep a sense of normalcy within your home even when the world is anything but normal. Children thrive with routines and are able to handle bigger feelings when they have them.
- Ask for help. Recognize the signs of anxiety in children. (Aggression, anger, clinginess, Seeking reassurance)
FCPS offers the following resources:
Request for FCPS Mental Wellness Consultation
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance.
Lisa K Bowes Lujan
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