Your Attitude Affects Outcome
Your attitude as a parent affects the anxiety level in your home.
Our children pick up on our moods and concerns. We need to be careful about what we choose to focus on and how we express ourselves in the aftermath of traumatic events.
Consider Your News Sources
- What are you reading?
- How often are you checking the news?
- What are you talking about and how are you talking with friends and family?
Your children need reassurance right now. The following ideas are a few ways you can accomplish this.
- Spend extra time with your children.
- Listen. They may have questions.
- Help them see the many helpers working to keep them safe.
- Empower them to help by practicing good hygiene.
- Review the National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s information about childhood trauma.
Let Gratitude Boost Your Immune System
Stress hormones can make us sick, but gratitude helps us reduce them. So grab some paper or an extra notebook and close out every single day with at least 3 things you’re grateful for. When you’re feeling anxious, address the things that are stressing you out. Don’t deny the tough stuff, but determine to focus more time on the good things in your life.
Prompts for Meaningful Discussion
The following three prompts can be spread out over the week. Plan for at least 15 minutes to have these conversations.
Consider the following model:
- Have one person read the prompt.
- Let each person respond to the prompt, speaking uninterrupted as long as needed. (Younger children may need encouragement and questions to keep sharing.)
- Remind each person to respond to the question, not what anyone else has said.
- After everyone has spoken, talk about what you learned from each other and about each other. What did you have in common?
- Make a plan as a family to keep practicing the things you’ve each learned through your family discussion.
Prompt #1: Practicing Gratitude
“What are some of the things for which each of us are grateful?”
Let each person share their thoughts. Consider having one person jot down each thing so you can post it somewhere in the house where you can all see it.
Concluding Your Conversation: When we’re grateful, we’re able to cope with difficulties much more effectively. We’re also better able to take care of ourselves when we’re grateful than when we are sad or fearful.
End your conversation by reviewing the ways gratitude actually boosts our immune system. Encourage one another to practice more gratitude daily.
Prompt #2: Taking a Break
“What are some things we can do when we need to take a break or calm down?”
Affirm your children’s ideas using phrases such as, “That could work!” and “I’m going to try that!”Post everyone’s ideas on the refrigerator and keep adding to them as you think of new ones.
Consider the kinds of family activities that would be calming or would help take kids’ minds off their concerns. Engage your children in helping make the longest list possible! Keep adding to the list in coming days and weeks.
Concluding Your Conversation: End your conversation with acknowledgement that while social media might feel like a break, it can actually raise our anxiety levels. Encourage one another to try some new ways to take a break instead of turning to electronics.
Prompt 3: The Difference Between Avoiding and Coping
“What are examples of and the differences in avoiding something and coping with it?”
For Youngers: Encourage them to talk about a time they may have been afraid of the dark, but eventually were able to go to bed alone. (If your child hasn’t mastered this yet, choose another area of growth you’ve seen in him or her.)
For Olders: Encourage them to talk about what happens when they have a disagreement with a friend. What’s the difference between choosing to ignore them or mustering courage to talk things through with that friend?
Concluding Your Conversation: “When we cope with something, it is no longer stressful, but when we avoid something, it takes our effort to be sure we stay removed from it.”
Affirmations can help us focus most of our thoughts on positive things. Try these and then make some with your children!
- “It helps when I can remember to be grateful for what I have.”
- “I realize that we get through tough times together. I need to remember that there are people who really care about me!”
- “I have so many people who touch and enrich my life. I am thankful for them.”
- “I realize it helps me to remember the ways I am blessed.”
- “I need to remember that most people are caring and helpful.”
Use the following mindfulness recordings to help you and your child relax throughout the week. Use them as many times throughout the week as needed and remind each other of the concepts you’re learning.
The Health Benefits of Relaxation
Relaxation Through Imagination
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