Lately, a day doesn’t go by without hearing some bad news about the economy. As parents, it’s natural that we sometimes may become stressed, depressed or angry. Children often sense this, and can feel stressed and anxious, too. So what can we do for our children during these difficult times? The following tips may be helpful:
Keep the lines of communication open
It’s more important than ever to keep communication open and honest with your children. Kids sense when their parents are worried – and they need to know why. Reassure your children that while circumstances may have changed, they will be safe and OK.
Learn to spend time together not money
Kids want your time not your money. They will remember time spent together, whether it was fishing, playing ball or learning to ride a bike – not about what parents bought them.
Continue your routine
Structure and routine are more important than ever during these times of change. By keeping some things the same all of the time, like bedtime routines, mealtimes and family traditions, children will feel safe and secure.
Limit screen time
Limit TV and media time for you and your children. Children will become anxious and worried when they hear too much information they don’t understand. If you do watch TV together, talk about what you see and ask questions about what they think and hear.
Take care of yourself
Make sure you are taking care of your physical and emotional health. If you need to see a professional, do so. There are agencies that offer free advice on finances. Call 2-1-1 for information about getting the help you need.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has some great in-depth information and resources to support parents and other caregivers in talking to kids about stress and the economy. I find this information extremely helpful–and I hope you do too!
–Linda Salzman, supervisor, Children’s Service Society of Wisconsin’s Wausau Family Resource Center