The Colorado Spirit Team at AllHealth Network has been thinking about the uncertainty we are facing. The course of the pandemic is still unknown, and the outlook for the remainder of the school year is up in the air. Our society is facing social injustice issues, and acts of violence related to the election are difficult enough for adults to understand, let alone children.
How do we best support kids right now?
Here’s some good news! We know youth are resilient and, with support, many will navigate this strange time without long-term difficulties. We also know that there are factors that enhance resiliency in children. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) shares information about resilience. Here are some of our key takeaways about supporting resilience in youth during the pandemic.
Support from others is huge!
Kids (and adults) benefit from supportive relationships. We can help our kids to have meaningful connections despite the disruption the pandemic creates.
Developmentally, kids are not likely to be able to navigate this challenge and the associated frustrations by themselves. Support will look different for different ages.
Elementary-aged kiddos need more practical assistance (like coordinating an outdoor playtime or setting up video calls), while high schoolers might benefit from encouragement or help problem-solving when interactions do not go well or feel meaningful.
Relationships with adults matter.
Relationships with adults are vitally important for youth, even when kids can’t or don’t express this. Again, this will look a little different depending on age.
Young children (preschool and younger) receive most of their social support from immediate family, so our main goal is to maintain and strengthen those connections.
Our high schoolers need different support. They are in a stage where relationships with people outside their families are the focus. Validation and empathy about their disappointments and struggles can help. Holding space for them to talk to us about their experiences and reminding them we are for them is beneficial.
Talk to kids about what is going on in the world.
We want to be mindful to talk to kids in developmentally appropriate ways, but recent events are on our kids’ minds too.
There is a great deal of inaccurate information surrounding any intense event, so it is important to help kids understand the facts of the situation and normalize their reactions. Simple questions like, “What have you heard about this?” can start the conversation and allow us to assess what kids already know.
The National Head Start Association offers several excellent resources for talking to kids about the violence at the Capitol on January 6th, and NCTSN has created resources for supporting youth during the pandemic, including this cute story for younger kiddos.
The Colorado Spirit Team can support YOU!
Many of us on the Colorado Spirit Team are parents too! We know this advice seems straightforward, but it can be challenging to manage day in and day out, especially when trying to maintain all the other aspects of life and our own emotional reactions. It is easy to mentally beat ourselves up about not being good enough at doing it all.
It can be exhausting to keep doing the same things we have been doing for months with no end in sight. But we know that making connections with others, using calming and relaxation practices, and finding ways to connect with others will help sustain us — and in turn, our kids — as we continue to face the shifting landscape.
That’s why we want to remind you that your well-being is crucial! You cannot show up for your kids, your partner, your family, or your workplace if you are not in a good space. Take the time to do things that are meaningful to you. Reach out for support when you need it.
Whether it is talking to our child specialist or meeting with other parents in a virtual support group session, the Colorado Spirit Team is here to be a support! See our webpage for a complete calendar of events.
If it would help to connect with someone, do not hesitate to reach out. All of our support is FREE!
Connect with Us
- Call: (720) 707-6789
- Email: COSpirit@allhealthnetwork.org
- Webpage: www.allhealthnetwork.org/Colorado-Spirit
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/AHNColoradoSpirit