Life is different today than it was before March 2020 and the losses are numerous. The more changes that have occurred, the greater the impact it will have on your child. If your child is also grieving, you can assume your child is more anxious than they had been before all of these changes had occurred.
The best way you can help your child is to encourage them to express their feelings and turn to you with their questions. Your child needs reassurance that you are there to support them. Children need to feel included in what is happening. If you are working and gone for a while, this can increase a child or teen’s anxiety and distress. Whenever possible, develop some new routines. This provides predictability and a sense of security, which is something that can be counted on during a time when other routines have been disrupted.
If possible, include in your child’s daily routine a place or time to talk about the day and ask questions. Provide simple answers, give a short description and listen for questions behind the questions. Consider the age of your child and where he or she is developmentally. If you create an atmosphere at home that encourages questions, know that pandemic-related questions will continue to arise from time to time.
You, as adults, are also under stress as a result of this pandemic. Coping with this stress is physically and emotionally exhausting. Take care of yourself by eating well and getting enough rest. It is impossible for you, alone, to provide everything your child may need during this time. Accept support and input from friends or family. There is no magic formula for coping in stressful times. As you accept the assistance of others and develop routines for you and your child, you are helping him or her through this difficult time and that provides a life lesson. It is the best preparation you can give for future life experiences.