If you’re a mom, Summer 2020 has been rough.
With COVID-19 restrictions already going on, the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing social disruption, pain and conversations (that we clearly weren’t ready for) threw an emotional wrench into the middle of our lives and history.
How possible is it to act with your children like everything is okay when you doubt sometimes that it is?
How do you teach your children to manage big emotions when you might be having trouble managing your own right now?
It isn’t easy being a parent, now more than ever.
How are you managing? Are you doing okay?
Getting through the day to day can be challenging right now. The most effective practice I can offer to you is to have a daily (or almost daily!) practice of meditation/breathing/or prayer. To regularly come back to a calm state is healing on many levels. And it’s so helpful to you when you know you can always lean on the breath when you’re under stress.
How about your young children? How are they doing?
Young children can’t tell you with words when they’re anxious or stressed, but their behavior sure speaks loudly!
If you find that your child is ‘misbehaving’ or acting out more than normal right now, it may be that they’re picking up on the anxiety in the world around them, even if you haven’t been talking about it.
Helpful practices to use with children
Here are some practices that help young children feel more safe and secure, no matter what else is happening in the world.
- Seeing adults in their life calm themselves when they’re upset or anxious
You’re only human, so it’s not possible to stay composed and in control when you’re upset every time. But if your children see you model a calming strategy, they’re able to feel safe even when people around them are upset.
2. Having a consistent, reliable set of routines most days.
Uncertainty can be anxiety-producing for young children. The more you can keep to your routines and usual activities, the more certain your child can feel that their world is safe and secure. Every day can’t be this way – life happens! – but it helps young children if they can anticipate what’s going to happen most days.
3. Being honest about how you’re feeling without burdening your child.
Some days you’re going to feel anxious, angry, or frustrated. If your child asks, “what’sa matter?” it doesn’t help them to say, “nothing.” Your behavior and body language is going to tell them that something IS the matter. So you’re teaching them not to believe their senses and feelings when you tell them it’s ‘nothing,’ which is not helpful.
If you’re feeling upset, be assured that you will act differently. So be proactive. Tell your child, “Mommy’s feeling a little __________ today, but I’m taking care of myself and I’m taking care of you. We’re safe, and we can handle it.” Be as matter-of-fact about it as you can be. Then move on to your next activity.
Young children don’t need details, they mostly need to know that their world is safe. You can help them feel secure and safe no matter what is happening in the world by being a helpful model and teacher, practicing consistency, honesty, reliability and showing them lots of love.
The last one will likely be the easiest and most enjoyable for you!
How are you doing?
What’s most challenging for you these days?
Comment below, especially if you need a little support or if you’d like to share what works for you.
Take care, be well,