The anxiety is real.
“Do your homework, eat dinner, wash your hands, do I-Ready, wash your hands again…” – the song and dance of every household in America. Daylight savings has just given us more time to dwell on the media madness that has everyone acting in a frenzy – a mighty clean frenzy, if I may add. From the ever-evolving news coverage to the empty toilet paper shelves to our kid’s playgrounds, there is no escaping the Coronavirus (COVID-19) – or at least the information overload.
I am going to be frank, I am not easily influenced by societies worries, but I am feeling a bit peer pressured and the concerns are starting to disrupt my calm demeanor. It’s hard to keep this Zen attitude when your colleagues are talking about buying canned food – just in case. I mean, really? And amidst my own anxieties, I have completely neglected that I have two small children that although don’t have a clear understanding as to what is going on (not that I do) need some very specific and nurturing guidance.
Things are serious!
With the closure of school’s city wide, how exactly do I stay calm and explain to the kids that it is not an extended spring break vacation but that “things are serious” – how serious? SERIOUS! It is important that with the abundance of information available to them, and the endless conversations that we have around them, we, as their protectors, are clear and transparent.
How do we bring up this coronavirus pandemic talk in a way that will be reassuring and not make our kids more worried than perhaps they already are?
And, wait, how do I tell my kids that social distancing is a “thing” – after I have been preaching about physical touch, kissing someone, hugging them, giving people a firm handshake. It’s frustrating to explain that it is temporary but to still love and show kindness. I challenge you to use this coronavirus pandemic that is temporarily trying to darken our clear Miami skies as an opportunity to teach our kids, teach ourselves to strengthen our own hearts.
Although we are distancing ourselves far from the human connection we have been striving so hard to attain, we will continue to have real conversations. We use this opportunity to teach faith. Let positivity be the disease that we fear in spreading, as it will have the greatest impact. Keep your actions, thoughts, and speech clear from panic. Our children hear our fear and are most likely to mimic it.
Globally we are going through something, whether you are an adult or a child, it affects us in one way or another. It’s important that through these times we help ourselves in order to help our kids and others.
7 Tips to Help You Cope During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Below I have compiled some strategies on how to help you cope with anxiety during these difficult times, which will allow you to help yourself, your children, and others.
Remember, you are not alone. You/we will get through this.
- Educate yourself with enough information not to overwhelm you but enough to keep you in the know. This will help you educate your children in an age appropriate way where it is not alarming but informative and relevant.
- Stay in tune with how your child/children are feeling. Ask questions, let them ask you questions. Answer them. Do this periodically – how they feel in the morning, might not be the way they feel at night.
- Wash your hands! Make this fun – sing, count, hum. By the end of the coronavirus pandemic, we are guaranteed to have a generation of master hand washers.
- Take a couple minutes and hide (we all know our hiding spot, ha). Use this time to reflect, think, be still, pray, journal. It is important you get your thoughts in order. With a clear mind, you can lead with logic and clarity.
- Use this as an opportunity to teach how amazing our world is. Show them positive examples of people doing incredible things for one another. See Italy coming together in their balconies through the means of songs and instruments. (Mommas, brace yourself, I cried and cried.) My daughter said, “I want to do that”. I said, “we will!”
- Maintain routine as much as possible. I realize that without school this might be difficult, but still allow yourself to stay organized. Build some normalcy among your daily routines. If you exercise in the evenings – make it a family thing and do it together in your yard or living room.
- Finally, use your resources, such as the Miami Mom Collective: Community & Connection Facebook Group to reach out for help, an ear, a voice. There are a group of moms that are here for you – at any capacity. Do not be embarrassed, put your ego to the side – WE ARE HERE FOR YOU, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Remember, kids don’t understand disease, but they sure know love, laughter, and fun. Tell your loved ones you love them, laugh at the craziness, and enjoy your time together.