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Pine Rest: Helping children deal with the realities of coronavirus

Dr. Greg Mallis from Pine Rest has advice for parents.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Life feels like anything except normal right now. For parents, not only do they have to manage their own concerns, they also have the responsibility to help their children navigate this new normal. 

Dr. Greg Mallis from Pine Rest had some advice for them.  First off, Dr. Mallis said adults should manage their own anxiety.  He advised them to do limited research to stay informed, but focus on scholarly sources not just news media.  He said increased mindfulness can help us stay up-to-date without becoming obsessed:

  • Make a list of what is and is not in your control 
  • Limit and schedule your updates 
  • Plan ahead and err on the safe side
  • Make contingency plans for travel and childcare so you have a backup
  • If you're new to remote work schedule breaks, exercise, and time to connect with coworkers so you don't feel isolated
  • Consider a practice like adding a morning or evening meditation to rest your mind

Dr. Mallis said when it comes to talking to our children, start with letting them ask questions and answer as you can.  He cautioned that you don’t overload them with information, that it’s ok to say “I don’t know.”  The goal is to help children feel safe in an uncertain time.  Dr. Mallis said parents should be honest with their children and focus on what they can control.  And then, Mallis said, give children opportunities to help and provide support.  For example, they could write letters or use skype to talk with friends and family. 

For more information and to contact Pine Rest, visit www.pinerest.org.  

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