As the majority of Americans have been quarantined for a few weeks now, we’ve all been doing our best to stay connected with family and friends. Whether it be social media, videoconferencing, texting, telephone, or the good ole pen and paper, I’m sure you’ve found a way to ensure your circle of people
When you are not communicating with the circle of people outside of your home, you are probably trying to be creative and think of ways to keep your family occupied. However, I ask you to stop and think about whether you have asked your kiddos how they are faring in this crisis. I know, you feel like you have spent every waking minute with your kids since this all started, so of course, you would know how they are doing, right? Well, let me tell you first hand that was not the case for me.
If you’ve been following along on social media, you’ve seen how Kaylie and I have been utilizing this free time. We’ve been going on bike rides, making Disney TikTok videos, and baking yummy snacks just to name a few. So, what I see on the outside is what you’ve all been seeing on the outside…a little blonde full of life and energy with a big smile on her face. However, looks can be deceiving. When I asked Kaylie a few days ago about how she was feeling with this whole COVID thing, she shocked me with her response. She responded with one word, and it wasn’t a word I expected to hear, because like I said, she wasn’t wearing that emotion on the outside. Kaylie responded to that question with “scared”. She was scared that either herself, a family member, a friend, or anyone she knows, in general, would contract the virus and become seriously ill.
I bring this topic up because I think it’s now more important, than ever, to be communicating with our kids on a regular basis about their mental health during this pandemic. Let me put it into perspective for you. If you’re my age (mid-thirties), I want you to think back to when 9/11 occurred. You were most likely in college (or just graduated or maybe still in HS). I want you to remember how emotional that was for you, even as a young adult, and that you just wanted reassurance from older people that the world was going to be ok…that we were going to be ok.
9/11 was the historical event, at least for my generation, that shaped our values and influenced who we are as adults. If you’ve ever done any research on generational differences, you’ll know that those differences we see in them (compared to the generation before or after) are all linked back to at least one major life-defining moment that occurred during the first part of their life. These moments are what create the attitudes and values the generation will take moving forward into the workplace and relationships as adults.
It’s 2020, and while we will all remember this year, COVID-19 could be the life-defining moment for the generation our kiddos make up. COVID-19 could be our kids’ 9/11!!! Are you starting to see why it’s so important that we stay connected, specifically emotionally connected, with our kids right now?
Now, I’m sure many of you can relate to the difficulty that comes with communicating with your kids. So, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. The same generation that we are talking about having a life-defining moment, is also the generation that has grown up with technology. They are true digital natives, as they were exposed to the internet very early on, have created social networks well before any of us did, and have no reservations about managing their whole life via the use of apps. So, I’ve found a simple way to connect with my kiddo, taking her generational differences
Every few days, send your kiddos a text message (or have them write a text to yourself on your device or just have them draw a picture) and ask them to describe how they have been feeling the past few days by using only 3 emojis. Using emojis
My thoughts and prayers are with you all as we continue to embark on an unknown journey and one that is so defining for our kiddos. I hope you get the answers, from your kiddos, that you need to serve and support them well, as their feelings and coping mechanisms today will have a very large impact on their future.