Shulamis Cheryl Mayerfeld
3 Ways to Help Your Child Roll With the Punches
Ah, parenting these days. It is quite the cumbersome task. Between being your child's parent, play partner, teacher, entertainer, and counselor…boy is it exhausting! Nothing seems predictable, whether it's figuring out if camp is on or off, what school learning will look like in the coming school year, and do you allow your kids to have play dates in pods.... it is hard to know where to turn and how to plan for your kids.
How do you roll with the punches and more importantly, help your children to develop some flexibility in adjusting to quick changes amidst the uncertainty that is our current atmosphere?
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. When helping your children adjust to unexpected and unpredictable changes in activities, help them to not only focus on what needs to change, but also on what is the same. This is advice I give parents all the time. Whether you are helping your children prepare for sleepaway camp, a move, a new grade/teacher, or even the divorce of parents; it is KEY to help your children stay grounded in the things that will be a constant. We often get so focused on helping them adjust to changes and what will be different, we forget to also remind them of what will remain steady in their environment, schedule, and relationships!
2. Always give your children a safety and security message when relaying the changes that may arise. Remind them that as the parent it is your job to take care of them and ensure that things go as smoothly as possible. For example "I don't know yet what school will look like this year. I know you will still have teachers and learn the same subjects. I also know that I will be with you to figure it out. Whatever happens, we will find a way to make school happen in some way".
3. Give them the space, vocabulary, and modeling to feel all their feelings about the uncertainty as well as the grief in the changes they are experiencing. Let them know that it is natural to feel annoyed, angry, worried, nervous, relieved, confused etc. about the ups and downs of the pandemic and its impact. Don't expect them to "buck up" or get over it too quickly. Allow them the space to feel disappointed and upset - even about things that feel so small and irrelevant (e.g. "but I don't WANNA wear a mask to school! I don't care if it is more safe!").
We are dealing with huge changes right now, and for our children, these seemingly small changes are massive and they need the time and space to process all the feelings that come with it. To quote one of my favorites, Brene Brown: "Perspective comes with experience.” If we want our children to gain perspective on what we as a society are going through during the pandemic (e.g. "Wearing a mask or missing school is not such a big deal. Think of all the people who have been sick!"), they need to be able to go through the experience of what they have lost (predictability, play dates, school, camp and more) and all the feels that come with it in order to develop a well-rounded perspective on loss and change.
I am now offering remote sessions for adults and children from the comfort of your own home. Reach out for a free 15 minute consultation!