Help Your Kids With a 5-Step, Science-Backed Approach
“I’m afraid I may die” my ten-year old son quietly tells me last night, when I asked him about the Coronavirus. He went on to say, “I’m also afraid others might be hurt.”
Your kids may be more scared about the Coronavirus than you know. Along with calming them down and assuring them, you can use this approach to build resilience and problem-solving skills.
This five step approach is science-backed and evidence-based, leveraging work by experts at Harvard and elsewhere.
While subtle, this approach builds more life skills for your child. They are learning how to calm themselves, express concerns, hear others, brainstorm, and take action to resolve. Great job parents!
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News stories and rumors are rampant right now about this virus. It’s one of those times when everyone has an opinion. You may end-up going through these five steps a few times because of this, or just the first two empathy ones.
To gain facts as a parent, we recommend your trusted medical professional or the CDC. If you catch yourself feeling panicked, do your best to identify your concerns. Giving them a name, color and texture can help. When you define it, it doesn’t have the same power. Call a friend or seek out mental health support as you need, so you can be there for your kids.
Remember, as parents, we often jump to protector mode before empathy mode. It’s a natural reaction but isn’t always the most useful in teaching skills to your kids. Do your best and remember to hear them first and then confirm that you understand them. In doing so, you will help build a lifelong coping skill pattern for them.
As my son and I finished our conversation, he was very excited about going shopping and getting a few extra cans of his favorite chicken noodle soup, making sure he knew where our board games were located, and was no longer afraid.
As a bonus - enjoy the recording of my son and I talking below!
Chris has worked in tech for 30 years, and healthcare tech for 8 of those. He's on the advisory board of Harvard-Based Think:Kids, and runs Rad Dad Rules. He is the proud Dad of two awesome kids, and lives in the Pacific Northwest.
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