“How to Find Peace in the Midst of Uncertainty”
These past couple of days have raised a number of questions for a lot of us. Amid these uncertainties, our children are looking at their grownups in their lives for guidance on how to navigate the current events:
Here are some pointers on how to regain some sense of peace and be a haven to our children.
Keep normalcy: this is crucial. Children thrive when they know what is expected. Moreover, routines give us a sense of control over our mental and physical space; keep practicing some activities at the same time as you used to. It is not about being rigid here either. school is out until next so children do not need to wake up at the same time to catch the bus; however, they can still have their meals, do their work; shower, have their story read to them, pray and go to bed at the times they used to.
Focus on what you have control over: Here is a great picture about it shared by one of our parents in 2019. Although it is about covid 19, it can be translated to this situation as well. Focusing on these things gives us a sense of control and power which enables us to better navigate these times.
Talk it out: The gut feeling might be to shy away from addressing the current situation in order to protect them. Children will sense the tension in the air, and not addressing the issue will give space to their imagination to fill in the blanks. Just acknowledge if you have not already the current situation. You can even do so in simple words for the smaller children. Ex. “some people were angry and asked the president to go and now they are figuring out how to better manage the country”. For bigger kids more details can be given, if they are not already aware of the situation. Also, welcome their questions and do not be afraid to say you do not know if you do not have answers to some of them.
Choose to be present: Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is about being fully present in the moment; it helps us be grounded which not only lessens our anxiety, makes us feel good but also in turns gives us the mental space to make better; informed decisions thus reducing choices based on impulses. This can be done by simply taking a couple deep breaths and shifting our focus from our thoughts to our body and surroundings for a couple of minutes. We can do this while we are on a walk; a drive or sitting in our living room with our family. Other ways to be fully present this week can be to set aside uninterrupted time for dinner; conversations, shows/movies with your children while electronics are on mute. This is also the time to be mindful of our discourse and attitude since our children are paying attention to us.
Practice gratitude: Being thankful is a stress buster. Think about the beautiful things that have happened or currently taking place for you and your family, from the most mundane to the extraordinary. It can be gratitude over a sunset to challenges overcome in the past. That positive outlook brings hope and strength during uncertainty.
To conclude as a community of educators we are determined to support you as well as we can. Feel free to reach out to us for any concerns you may have.
I would be as the counselor more than happy to answer your questions.