28 Mar Children’s lives and the covid pandemic: One year later
March marks the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic and it is safe to say that everyone has been impacted in one way or another, including children. Children have experienced changes in their routine, missed significant life events, loss of security and safety, along with many more challenges based on the family’s unique situation. Ask yourself: Are you physically and socially distancing from a grandparent or other loved one? Has your child had a disruption in their school or learning environment? In addition to birthdays, what significant life events has your child missed?
Your child is not alone – many children are grieving due to a loss they experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Are you thinking: What? Grief? My child hasn’t experienced a death. Well grief is often associated with death, but in reality, grief is the emotions and feelings after a loss. Has your child’s behaviour changed since COVID-19? Do you notice they are more withdrawn or angry? Children may exhibit behaviour changes to mask their grief and feelings of worry, fear or stress. Grief isn’t a one size fits all experience and is influenced by many different factors.
We’ve been told that grief is a process, but grief is an experience – Alesia K. Alexander
Research has shown that children benefit from being included and involved in the conversations about grief, but many adults feel overwhelmed when supporting their children’s big emotions and questions about grief. Are you unsure how to talk to your child or answer their questions? Here are some tips from Bloom’s Certified Child Life Specialist to learn how to talk to your children about COVID-19.
Try saying this:
“Wow, this really stinks”
“It’s OK to wish things were different right now”
“Other kids feel the same way you do”
Instead of this:
“Don’t worry, it’ll be better soon”
“It’s not a big deal”
“Everything is fine”
While the latter quotes are often said with the parent’s best intentions to shield their child, consider the language and message that is being shared with them. Instead of pushing away those hard conversations, it can be really therapeutic to sit with them. It is important to validate your child’s feelings and allow them a safe space to express their emotions.
If you feel you could benefit from some parenting support to navigate these conversations or a positive space for your child to process their grief, connect with Bloom’s Child Life Specialist, Sarah! Part of her passion is walking children through their grief by providing a safe environment to process their loss, express their feelings, clear up misconceptions, and learn therapeutic coping strategies for their grief.