What will your kids remember about the time the world shut down? Help them discover their resilience by pointing out these things! (Includes a FREE memory journal.)
It’s hard to believe that we’re here, celebrating the anniversary of something none of us saw coming – a pandemic that shut the whole world down.
Who could have imagined we’d still be navigating this strange period in our lives one year later?
Someday, it will be in the past. It will just be another memory we talk about with our kids.
We’ll laugh about the “toilet paper crisis” and the time dad forgot his mask and had to strap a tiny child-sized mask over his face.
We’ll tell them how much we loved seeing their creativity at home and spending extra time together as a family.
But that won’t be everything.
Maybe when they’re older, we’ll tell our kids how we cried because helping them with distant learning was so hard. Or how we ached for the family we couldn’t visit. Or how we lost sleep worrying about everything, even though we tried to make it fun for them.
Until then, we’ll navigate the best we can, knowing that this experience has changed our families (and the way we parent) forever.
BUT WHAT WILL OUR KIDS REMEMBER?
Each child will walk away from this time with different memories. They all have their own variation of experiences, after all.
And while it’s so important to point out and try to find the positive side of it all, it’s equally important to acknowledge the hardships they have gone through as well.
Because, truth be told, it hasn’t been that easy.
Sure there are kids who hardly seem affected at all. But there are also kids who are very afraid, stressed and anxious, even if they don’t show it.
Whether they realize it or not, kids everywhere have been pretty incredible.
They have been forced to be flexible, adaptable and strong. Do they recognize how impressive that is? Do they understand that they are becoming more resilient every day?
We can help them see that.
We can point out that true resilience means finding strength despite the difficulties we face. That heroes are made, not born. And that they deserve credit right alongside the many heroes we have come to know over the past year.
SHOULD I REALLY INTERFERE WITH MY CHILD’S MEMORIES OF THE PANDEMIC?
When it comes to memories, kids often remember the emotions much more than the events themselves.
This is where you come in.
You can help your kids develop a narrative about their experiences during this pandemic, one that helps them understand and make sense of what they went through.
Without that guidance, they’ll likely invent their own narrative. And that story might be more threatening and hard to process.
Instead, go ahead and validate their difficult emotions. For your kids, they’re very real.
But then redirect their attention to something on the positive side. By doing so, you’ll be helping to “revise” their memories in a way that puts both a realistic and a positive spin on them.
This is different from gaslighting – where kids are told a falsely positive story.
Instead, you’re helping your kids develop an optimistic mindset by teaching them to find positive features where they can, a skill that will help them come to expect good in their future.
For example, let’s say your family took a trip to the zoo and your child hated having to wear a mask and go without friends. When talking about your trip the next day, you could help turn it into a positive memory by pointing out something different you got to do because there were fewer people.
8 THINGS KIDS HAVE NAVIGATED SINCE THE WORLD SHUT DOWN
The pandemic may have shut down the world, but it’s also shown just how incredible kids are. Here are some of many things they’ve had to deal with:
1. NEW SOCIAL SITUATIONS
Remember the days when 15 kids would gather for an energy-packed birthday party filled with finger foods and close quarters? It almost seems like a lifetime ago.
From drive-by parties to virtual gatherings, kids have had to learn a new way to celebrate with friends. Sometimes they’ve been fun, and other times they’ve felt lonely.
It hasn’t been easy having to miss out on birthday parties, play dates, swim parties, having friends over for dinner, and more.
But necessity forces creativity, and kids have found new ways to be social through writing letters, hanging out virtually, waving at each other through windows…and even learning to play better with family members at home! (Well, most of the time.)
2. CHANGES IN PLANS
These are two words kids have gotten used to hearing. Libraries, museums, trampoline parks, school concerts, field trips, sports, restaurants, family vacations…it’s hard to think of anything that hasn’t been altered or even shut down along with the rest of the world.
And even though things are slowly starting to open back up, it’s not back to normal yet.
It’s easy for kids to feel like they’re missing out on the things they love doing. It’s also easy for parents to worry that their kids are missing out on important opportunities.
But overall, kids are learning to get pretty innovative with their time.
Many kids are spending more time outside, playing in the backyard or going on hikes with their families. Other kids are becoming more inventive with the things they have at home.
3. MISSING LOVED ONES
Speaking of screen time, meeting in person has become pretty tricky.
But kids have found ways to keep in touch with those they love through Zoom, Skype, Facetime and other video chat platforms.
And while nothing beats being with loved ones in person, kids have also kept in touch through letters, drive-by visits, and even spending time together through a closed window.
4. WEARING MASKS
Masks will forever be ingrained into everyone’s memories.
Some kids have had a harder time adjusting than others, especially those with extra sensory needs, but kids everywhere have had to learn how to accept this new accessory.
And for the most part, they’re doing pretty well.
5. VIRTUAL LEARNING
Some families might describe virtual learning as the 10th circle of hell.
There are kids who have spent hours alone in a closet, that being the only place they could be alone to hear their teachers. And there are others who have sprawled out on the kitchen table.
Many have been able to come up with a pretty workable system.
But all have struggled, not being able to learn in a way they are used to. And unfortunately, the added stress has interfered with many parent-child relationships.
Eventually, the universe will course-correct and our kids will be okay. But for now, the best thing we can do is learn to laugh about the things we’ve all had to do to adapt.
6 RIGID PROCEDURES
Schools are slowly returning to in-person learning, but for the kids who have gone back, it’s still far from “normal.”
They’re having to stay 6-feet apart, wash their hands, go through gallons of hand sanitizer, wear masks, only play on certain parts of the playground, adjust to new classroom setups, and navigate even more rules and procedures than they’ve had to in the past.
They deserve credit for that…along with all the amazing adults in their schools!
7. CHANGES IN ROUTINES
Family life changed when the world shut down.
With parents working from home and kids not participating in their usual activities, new systems had to be put in place. Routines had to shift in order to accommodate everyone’s new schedules.
And everyone had to learn to adjust.
Change in any form can be difficult for some kids to get used to. But fortunately, not all of the changes have been bad.
8. EXTRA TIME ALONE, EVEN AT SCHOOL
Humans are social creatures, and kids especially thrive with close social interaction.
It hasn’t always been easy for them to sit alone in assigned, socially distanced seats in class, at lunch or on the bus. Or to have changes in how they interact with their friends outside of school.
It’s important to help our kids remember that this won’t last forever. This has just been a temporary disruption to their way of life.
And eventually (hopefully sooner rather than later), they will be able to sit close to their friends again.
Until then, we’ll all have to stay creative in how we create and maintain friendships!
FREE ACTIVITY: PANDEMIC-LIFE JOURNAL AND VIDEO INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
Again, it’s hard to believe that it’s been a whole year since the world shut down.
Why not make a record of what it was like?
Journaling is a great way for kids to record their memories and will give them something fun to look back on in future years.Here is a simple journal kit your kids can fill out.
You can also make their story even more memorable by making a video! Record your child answering the questions in the journal kit – some of their answers might surprise you.
Your kids will love being able to look back and see themselves answering these questions.
In the end, kids have truly risen to the challenge this past year. By helping them understand how impressive they’ve been, you’ll be setting them up to start recognizing their own inner-strength and resilience.
And that’s something they can be proud of.
OTHER HELPFUL POSTS:
- Look On The Bright Side: 7 Secrets To Raising Optimistic Kids
- From Helpless To Hopeful: How To Raise Resilient Kids
- 180+ Positive Affirmations For Kids To Boost Motivation And Confidence
- 7 Easy And Fun Mindfulness Activities For Kids
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