Well we’ve made it to November folks! The Halloween decorations have been stored and we are ready for the start of the holiday season. We however have one MORE giant transition this year, and that is the 2020 presidential election. We here are a family and love one another with all the diversity that comes with an inclusive school, and therefore want to share some insight on some ways to talk to your kids about the state of the country and what that means for them and their futures.
National elections can be challenging for many, regardless of their political beliefs. It seems the main source of anxiety comes from the unknown of what is next to come. Children can most certainly feel this stress too – the stress of coping with differing opinions, comments and news they might find upsetting, managing their emotions and watching their caregivers, parents, loved ones tackle that stress as well. As adults, we have the responsibility to model for our children how to manage this time of stress and uncertainty.
So, what can you do to talk to your child about the current state of their world?
- Be mindful of what you say to your children and the way it is presented – let your children ask questions prior to sharing concerns or opinions. Allow your children to be curious about the process and be mindful of information you know and do not know.
- Monitor what they look at on social media. Children may have a hard time expressing that they are struggling with the information presented to them by friends and people they follow on social media. Remember to take breaks yourself from social media and the news in order to live presently and encourage activities that reduce stress/anxiety (ex. exercise, spending time in nature, family game nights)
- Encourage respect when listening to others’ opinions. Remind them that it is alright if someone they know/love has an opinion that differs from them. Encourage them to use coping strategies to manage uncomfortable emotions if they disagree with a friend or peer. Teach your children compassion when speaking about differences, and reward when they are able to walk away from uncomfortable situations and ask for help.
The best you can do is remind them that you are there to love and take care of them, and will do so to the best of your ability. Lastly, It is important to make sure you take care of your self and practice self care.