DETROIT – A lot of parents are wondering how to help their children navigate the anxiety of all the closings and the changes to their schedule.
To keep children as stress free as possible, adults need to demonstrate self management and self awareness of their own worries.
Being home all week is the new normal for children. That new normal can bring some big concerns.
“We need to understand that we set the emotional tone in our homes and if we want the kids to be calm and not panic then we need to be calm and not panic,” psychologist Donna Rockwell said.
She said parents should be ready to answer a lot of questions.
“You just be very honest and say, ‘At this moment in history there’s a bad virus going around out there and daddy and I are going to protect you and we’re all safe here,'" Rockwell said.
Children will most likely ask about their friends too. They might wonder when they can see them.
Rockwell encourages parents to tell their children they will see their friends again and let them know they can call them and cat with them on the internet.
She said parents should tell their children, “'We’re staying home and we’re being very careful that we don’t spread it without knowing to anyone else.'”
She said we should all try not to worry so much about next week or next month.
“We just need to stay focused on what we’re doing right now and keep our bodies calm,” she said.
Children like having a routine. Rockwell said parents should try to have their children on some kind of schedule, but also have fun.
“Watch movies together, some cartoons. Hang out and laugh with your children,” she said.
Rockwell said parents need to meet children at their own level with honesty and clear communication. Don’t overwhelm them with information. It can be hard for them to comprehend and then they will get worried.