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Pandemic Parenting | Reassuring your kids amidst uncertainty

Many children are looking for reassurance these days.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — How important it is to reassure kids that things will be OK despite uncertainty?

Many children are looking for reassurance these days. Reassurance that they will be able to do activities they want to do, that they won’t have to wear masks much longer, that the virus will go away, and more. It can feel supportive to tell kids that they don’t have anything to worry about, and that everything will be okay. The reality is that none of us knows, as with any of the many uncertainties in life.

We can tell them what we think might happen, but to provide false reassurance can end up creating more anxiety. It doesn’t soothe them beyond the moment, and they can become dependent on constant reassurance from others that things will be okay.

Instead, we want to tell kids that no matter what happens, they will be able to handle it and we will support them. That’s a much more honest, and ultimately empowering, message. We want to spotlight their resilience, problem solving, and the capabilities they have within themselves to handle the curve balls life throws at them.

Here are some questions your children may be asking and how you can answer them:

Will we be able to go back to school soon?
"I’m not sure when you will be able to go back to school, but I know that whatever happens you will be able to handle it and will make the best of it."

Am I going to get sick?
"It’s possible you will get sick, although we are doing the things we should to help us stay healthy. If you do get sick, you will rest and we will take care of you. We will get you the medical care you need to help you recover from it."

Are we going to be able to have normal Christmas activities this year?
"We don’t know what things will look like at the holidays. But even if plans need to change, I know you can manage it and we will come up with some fun things to do here at our house."

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