I recently ran across an excerpt from The Mister Rodgers Parenting Book that focuses on helping children feel safe and secure during difficult times in our world (see link below). No matter the event or experience, the needs of children for support and comfort are the same. As we consider the events not only in our own community but across the world, this brochure provides some helpful guidance for how to make sure our children feel safe and secure during difficult times.
One of the things that really stood out for me is how sensitive children are to the feelings and emotional expressions of the adults in their lives. Children observe the adults in their world and mirror their actions, attitudes, and characteristics. While this is amazing, it reminds us how important it is to think about the messages that we want to convey to children. The ways that we express our emotions (especially anger and fear), how we interact with others, and how we respond to events and experiences in our world can show up in the mirrored actions of our children.
Here are a few helpful hints that are listed in the excerpt, Helping Children Deal with Tragic Events in the News.
- Do your best to keep the television off, or at least limit how much your child sees of any news event.
- Try to keep yourself calm. Your presence can help your child feel more secure.
- Give your child extra comfort and physical affection, like hugs or snuggling up together with a favorite book. Physical comfort goes a long way towards providing security. That closeness can nourish you, too.
- Try to keep regular routines as normal as possible. Children and adults count on familiar patterns of everyday life.
- Plan something that you and your child can enjoy together, like taking a walk or going on a picnic, having some quiet time together or doing something silly. It can help to know there are simple things in life that can help us feel better, both in good times and in bad.
Helping Children Deal with Tragic Events in the News: http://www.ncdhhs.gov/mhddsas/services/disasterpreparedness/MisterRogersFINAL.pdf
Post by Jessica Sims