As parents and grandparents in these stressful times, it is important to remember that children are excellent perceivers but rotten interpreters. Children don’t miss much. They see and hear everything. When there is change and uncertainty, children become hyper vigilant. They watch your facial expressions and behavior to figure out you mood. But they often misinterpret what they see and hear. They connect the wrong dots.
This is shown on a recent internet post. When a young child was asked if he knew why schools were closed, he said, “Sure, they ran out of toilet paper.” So kids need our help in making sense of the changes they are experiencing. Don’t be afraid to ask you children what they are thinking and feeling. Don’t hesitate to ask what they know about what is happening.
They want honest answers. Although they are rotten interpreters, they have very sensitive BS detectors. However, while we should give honest answers, they must be geared to the child’s age and capacity to understand. We can explain that there is an illness going around and that’s why we have to take steps like staying home not to get it. Most of all, our answers should always end with reassurance that things will be okay and that they and you are safe together. That is the message they want to hear and you are the messenger they want to hear it from.
And while it’s a time to be away from friends, relatives and teachers, it’s a time for being together with those you love most. Not only can you raise your child’s mood, they can do the same for you. Have fun with that.