There have been many days in the past 11 months, that I had no words for my girls. I couldn’t tell them how I felt because I was afraid I would put even more worries on them. I would spend extra time in the tub or in the laundry room sorting clothes to cry.
I thought I was doing a good job of hiding my anxiety about Covid-19. I thought I was doing okay with keeping my daughters balanced and as happy as kids can be in pandemic isolation. Then until one day, my youngest daughter came running into my room anxious to report that she had to “get away from Daddy because he just sneezed in the other room”.
#1 Talk About It
There is no sense in trying to hide all of your anxiety!
(okay… well maybe you should hide some of your anxieties – they don’t need to know how afraid you were when you sat in on your daughter’s gymnastics practice and you watched her turn a cartwheel on the balance beam for the first time! That kind of anxiety you can hide)
Let them know that you have concerns about the world around you and let them see you carry on! Life doesn’t stop because you are afraid. You do it anyway!
Talking to your child about some of your fears will help your child cope with their own.
Watching a parent be strong despite it all is an invaluable lesson a child will keep for life.
#2 Watch the News Together
Choose a network you trust and watch the news together every once in a while. Most evening news keeps in mind that they have a broad audience. A balanced news broadcast can help keep some fears in perspective.
Watching the news will help to answer some of the questions you and your child may have about what’s going on around you.
National network news will always end with a positive. Make sure you show a smile with that report and let that segment be the start of your conversations afterward.
If watching the news is too uncomfortable for you and your child, start by just watching the ending highlighted segments. Remember to accentuate the positive… eliminate the negative – until you’re ready for it.
Keep in mind that the news, like all media, is designed to keep you coming back for more. TURN IT OFF after 30 minutes. Do not let it consume your days and nights.
#3 Have a Routine
Routine is key for almost anything – including raising children that don’t take on your fears.
Everything in the world may change around them (virtual learning, face to face learning, in and out of quarantine, etc.), but if they know that they can always count on mom or dad making sure they are in the bed by 8:30 PM and up by 7:00 AM, they know there IS some normalcy in life.
Having a routine will help them to recognize that mom and dad have not given up yet – and neither should they.
#4 Understand that Fearless is NOT Fear-Free
I may get some backlash on this, but no one is free from fear! We can argue day and night that God has not given us a spirit of fear – and he hasn’t – however, that does not mean you or your child are free from fear.
As long as we have emotions of joy, anger, disgust, and sadness, we will have fear. We just have to learn how to deal with it. With that, we show our children how to cope.
Fearless is NOT Fear-Free.
#5 Choose a Lifeline and Call a Friend
Everyone has the one friend that seems to be handling the Covid-19 anxieties with ease. Whenever you talk to them, they seem to have an optimistic point of view on the entire situation.
If you have a trusting friend or partner that is more level-headed – ask them to be more present in your life and in your child’s life. Perhaps both you and your child can benefit from the lifeline of ‘calling a friend’.
#6 Pay Attention to What You Say and Do
As parents, we have a tendency to repeat instructions over and over again, but now is not the time to nag your child with your fears. Don’t remind your child to tighten their mask when it is already secure behind their ears.
Don’t jump and react every time you hear a person sneeze or cough nearby. If the person behind you in the grocery line is inching closer to you than you are comfortable with, keep calm and maybe nonchalantly put your cart behind you instead of in front of you.
Try not to make anything a BIG deal.
If there are things you can control, control them. But the things you can’t control, learn to gracefully roll with the punches!
#7 Pray and Let it GO
One of the scariest things about Covid-19 is that no one can predict how your body will react to it. It has shown us that life cannot be predicted, and it causes the question, “where can we put our faith”?
Life is fragile, and every moment is precious. We know that we are not promised tomorrow – we never have been. Put your faith and trust in God. Talk to him daily and let all your fears go!
This is perhaps the most important lesson we can share with our children.
“Oceans” by Hillsong United captures the sentiment of feeling overwhelmed and moving forward in faith. Listen to the words of the song and allow them to inspire you to release your fears to God and not allow them to fall on your children.
Traci D. Fuller, Pearls and Pretty Pens © 2021