Let’s stay calm, control what we can and lead our kids with confidence.
I don’t know about you, but when the COVID-19 first hit the news, I was “Oh, ok. That is sad for them.” Then, before I knew it, it had entered Australia; people began panic buying, there were laws against mass gatherings but even those smaller organisations, services and clubs starting to postpone their season starts, services & meetings. Schools were shutting down and then they weren’t…
I wouldn’t say I became panic stricken, but I have been feeling a little uneasy about the uncertainty of it all. Enough for me to empathise with those adults and children whose anxiety might be reignited or even unexpectedly manifest because of the situation. So, I did what I have learned to do at times of uncertainty; research. It has helped me and I hope that it supports you.
- Choose your source of information carefully- for both you and your children. I am not saying that all the crap on social media or mainstream news is not valid, but I am saying that it all has a tilt toward sensationalism. I recommend, if you are going to follow anything, be it sources like ABC/SBS and https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus .Even https://kidshelpline.com.au/ has some great information for our smaller people.
- Be aware of and work on your emotional “stuff” related to the virus first- where we might feel worried about the virus, frustrated at the government’s actions or inaction, uncertain to the point of distraction, we may not be aware that we are allowing these negative emotions to “visit pain on our children.” It certainly ok to feel all of these emotions and express them in a calm manner with our children, but we need to do the actual processing (panicking) of these offline, away from our children. (wherever possible). Let your brain know you are grateful for it alerting you to these feelings and that you “have this; for you and for your children!”
- “Energy Flows Where Attention Goes”- here we want our energy to remain calm, hopeful and focused on controlling what we can control. You will have the most up to date information from looking at reputable sources, which you will have processed your own reactions and emotions about, so that you can then calmly relate the situation to your children.
- Repeat the cycle- It’s not easy, but at times like this, when things are altering so quickly you will need to be willing to do this again and again until things settle.
So, what is it we know at the moment?
- Risks are very low for healthy children in relation to this virus and higher for the elderly and those people with existing health conditions.
- That transmission is via droplets from nose or mouth to another’s nose, mouth or eyes.
- Children tend to be awesome germ machines, with often questionable hygiene practices…
- Also, other facts you can get from Australian Gov websites.
What can we control?
- Our hygiene practices (again see the reputable sources for update to information and discuss this)
- Where we go and who we see. If you have those most vulnerable to this virus in your life, think about them in terms of seeing and supporting them.
- Our thoughts; we can continue to participate in activities that motivate positive energy. It might be playing cards with your children, practising mindfulness or even getting out in to the garden or backyard/a local oval and sharing in positive time. We all have the power to control our thoughts at any point in time.
The below two resources are good videos on how to support yourself and your children in these uncertain times. The first contains 3 interviews of which I recommend watching the first one. It is 25 minutes long but has some great tips and strategies. The second is Australian and although based more in the context of the bush fires has some tips which fit this craziness we find ourselves in. It is somewhat shorter also at 4 minutes.
If you are still feeling uncertain, worried or anxious about your situation, please reach out for support.
You are never alone.