Uncertainty often brings about increased feelings of fear and anxiety. With our current public health crisis, most of the world is on edge, and struggling to manage these ever increasing feelings.
One thing I want you to know is, you're not alone.
While experiencing a wide rage of thoughts, feelings, and reactions to the ever unfolding information we are receiving about Coronavirus is perfectly normal, learning how to manage and fight negative thoughts and feelings as a family, can make a huge difference in your home environment, mental, and emotional health.
Knowing how to handle our own stress and worries isn't easy, let alone trying to figure out ways to help our kids, but below are a few ways of fighting fear and anxiety together, during any times of uncertainty.
Talk about it: Kids look to their parents for cues on how to cope with situations of uncertainty or doubt. While you don't want to discuss every anxious moment you experience, with your child, you don't have to try to suppress every moment either. It is healthy for children to see that their parents experience different emotions, and to discuss how to appropriately respond to these emotions.
Model healthy behaviors: When you talk about things that may cause you fear or anxiety, you give your children permission to do they same. Taking time to pause instead of immediately reacting, is another behavior you can model. This helps children learn to be less reactive, and more purposeful in how they respond to others.
Gather all of the facts and maintain a healthy perspective: Teach your children how to seek the truth, and how to sort through ideas versus facts. After gathering information, identify the different perspectives possible, and help them learn to choose healthy perspectives.
Limit social media and news coverage: While being "social" is great, when experiencing an increased sense of fear, anxiety, worry, etc., flooding your brain with the thoughts and opinions of others can be counterproductive.
Laugh: Fun and laughter are not only contagious, but they are healing. They increase the "feel good" hormones (called endorphins) in the brain, which have pain relieving properties. Laughter can ease anxiety and tension, and improve your overall mood.
Pray about it: It can be easy to turn to friends, family, social media, and other media coverage during times of uncertainty and confusion, but if you want to find the truth, you have to seek the Truth. The Bible says, "it is the truth that sets us free" (John 8: 31-32). Although we are tempted to turn to the things of this world, we have to be intentional about seeking the source, and teaching our children to do the same.
As parents, we act as a thermostat for our children, setting the temperature in our homes. Our emotions effect our children, and while we should not feel guilty about how we feel, we can learn to manage these feelings together. When parents model more useful ways to manage their emotions, children learn how to do it too.
*If you or your child are experiencing an overwhelming sense of fear or anxiety, which causes significant issues and disrupts everyday living, please seek professional mental health support.