Forget the Headlines: Do This to Help Your Kids Overcome Fear
During times of uncertainty—like a global pandemic—here’s how to help your kids navigate nervous emotions.
Social distancing and quarantine orders began with an end in sight—or so we thought. Two weeks. Maybe a month. Okay, maybe two months? At least there was an end on the horizon, and boy did we cling to it. Now there are rumblings that social distancing may last a lot longer than we originally anticipated.
Is your mind reeling with questions and fears? Ours have been. Your kids probably feel the same.
First we were concerned with keeping our families healthy. Now, we may be concerned about putting food on the table, paying the rent, and keeping our kids engaged. How do we look forward to such an uncertain future—a future that is so different from anything most of us have ever known.
It’s concerning. And it can feel overwhelming.
But the truth is, when you consider decades past, this time of uncertainty could almost be considered—dare we say it—normal.
While this pandemic may be novel for us, it’s hardly abnormal for the human race.
Wars, bombings, natural disasters, economic crises, and yes, global pandemics are all a part of our collective past. They dot the history of this world, and in fact, they’ve touched the lifetimes of people that are still alive. Your grandparents or your elderly neighbor? They’ve lived through a lot. The truth is that this is normal. It may not be the kind of normal that you or your child is used to, but looking at it with a global historical perspective, it isn’t altogether different from the crises we’ve overcome before.
This alone is a huge relief. It shows us that we can overcome serious challenges, time and again.
Gather your kids and step back for a second. Do a quick Google search of major world events since 1900. Read through these events and discuss them with your kids. This is not intended to scare your children, but rather to open their little minds to the world around them, and to teach them our history of resilience and strength.
Here are a few kid-friendly sites that will break down world events for you:
National Geographic Kids https://www.natgeokids.com/uk/category/discover/history/
Ducksters Education Site: US History 1900 to Present https://www.ducksters.com/history/us_1900s/
Fact Monster https://www.factmonster.com/history/world
For the older kids, we recommend:
Kahn Academy: World History https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/world-history/euro-hist
Your children may already be familiar with several of these world events, but help them go one step further in understanding the past and therefore navigating our current situation. Ask:
- How would you feel if you lived during this event?
- How do you think your life would change if you were living at this time?
- What would you be afraid of if this was happening now?
- How could you help your community/family/country if this event occurred?
As parents, it’s vital that we help our kids develop a global and historical perspective.
When they learn what others have overcome, they’ll learn they can do the same.
Use this as an opportunity to connect your children to the past. Help them understand that people all around the world have passed through times like these before, and they will too.
It’s been shown that kids with higher emotional intelligence demonstrate greater levels of empathy—which in turn means they have the ability to see the world from a perspective different than their own.
Help your child step outside of their world and into another’s. You’ll be surprised at the resilience your little one is capable of.