Pandemic Impact on Young Children: A Survival Guide
The impact this pandemic has afflicted onto families and their young children is extraordinary. With minimal social interaction and peer support, children are experiencing heightened loneliness and isolation.
But don’t fear! This blog series is here to help you survive this unprecedented time! So, let’s get into it! Survival tips for navigating loneliness and isolation!
Survival Tips for Children Experiencing Loneliness and Isolation
Provide Extra Reassurance
It’s important to provide empathy, validation, and reassurance to your kids. Now, more than ever, children need to know that you are always there for them to lean on and feel supported.
Tips for Providing Empathy
- “I statements” – Modeling these for your young children is going to help them learn how to appropriately express and communicate their feelings.
- “I feel __________ when __________ because _____________.”
- Reflecting their emotions – By doing this, you are ensuring that your child feels heard.
- Ex: “It sounds like you are feeling very overwhelmed right now.”
- Paraphrasing what your child is saying. When you simply repeat what you heard back to them, it validates that you hear what they are saying.
- Utilizing active listening. This is fully concentrating, understanding, responding, and remembering what has been said
Stay in touch with family and friends
We will talk about this more in future blogs, but it is important that you and your children try to maintain any social interaction during this time.
Talk about feelings with your Children
Young children are not always able to verbally communicate their feelings so it is important to get creative. So here are some tips to navigate these discussions:
- Utilize games and art projects to allow children to express themselves and how they are feeling.
- Kids often mimic adults and their emotions. It’s important to ensure that you, as parents, are modeling how to manage your own emotions and engage in self-care.
- Help your child to learn and identify their feelings. Again, children at this age may not comprehend what feelings are. Incorporating a feeling chart and doing daily check-ins can help children become more familiar.
Seek a Daily Purpose for your Child
Children at the ages of three to five years old are going through a very important developmental stage where they are attempting to assert their control and power over their environment. Due to the impact of this pandemic, we have to get creative about finding other ways for children to feel like they are in in control!
- Allow your children to choose their clothes for the day. Encourage them to attempt to dress and undress themselves.
- Give your children the task of creating a piece of art each day to display somewhere in the house.
- Allow your child to tell a bed time story to other siblings or parents
Hopefully some of these tips help your family and young children navigate this unprecedented time, along with the loneliness and isolation that comes with it. This blog series will provide survival tips on many topics surrounding the impact of the pandemic on young children and their families.