How we manage this current crisis—however long it lasts—will have a huge impact on our children.
Hurricane Wilma ravaged South Florida in 2005. For me it was a terrifying storm with a complicated aftermath. My daughter was ten at the time. She didn’t have a sense of time or how much school was missed; she didn’t even remember all four of us and the dog hunkered down in a makeshift shelter filled with mattresses, hearing the frightening storm whirling around us. She missed the adults’ stress of wondering how we would repair our homes or survive economically. She was terrified during the storm, watching her parents panic over flying debris and frantically try to secure our home, but what she recalled as she grew into an adult was fun—the camaraderie of her peers, missing school, and a general feeling she had been safe.
Parents and caregivers need to consider what memories and feelings we want our children to come out of this worldwide crisis with. How will they look back at the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020? While most of us don’t have vivid day-to-day memories of events from long ago, we do however have a memory of how we felt at the time.
Will our children’s memories of this crisis, and of childhood in general, be of stress and anxiety, pressure, confusion? Or can we redirect it to a feeling of empowerment and resilience? We are in this for the long haul. And we have an opportunity to show our kids, of all ages, how we can rise to this challenge. How we can proactively use this time at home with our families for good?
This experience is a challenge to safety. And much like we talk at KidSafe about parenting in a way that makes personal safety comfortable, we know you can control the experience your children have—at least their experience of how you handle the situation. It will be a challenge: no school, boredom, and concepts hard for them to understand.
We would love to hear your thoughts on how or what you will be doing in your home to make the best out of this unusually challenging situation. We look forward to sharing more KidSafe education with you over the next month, but for now, simply try to influence their memories of the Coronavirus with some positive family experiences. Your calm guidance, and making as much time as possible for them, will empower them with confidence that they are in safe parent and guardian protection.