5 Ways to Help Your Kids Process Tragedy
Hey mamas, has something ever stopped you dead in your tracks and made you think, “Oh my gosh, I’m a MOTHER! Who thought it was a good idea to give me tiny humans to raise?! What am I doing? I still feel like I’m 22!”
This happens to me like 4 days a week. The latest was as I was disciplining Josie for something in the bathtub, and as the words “be careful, honey, I don’t want you to slip and fall because I love you so much” came out of my mouth, I had a real out-of-body, holy-mother-I’m-a-MOTHER experience.
And then this past Sunday happened in a little town in Texas and I saw the faces and ages of the victims – little girls just a couple years older than Josie. Talk about sobering.
In that moment, (among lots of other sad and confusing thoughts and feelings) I legit thanked God that I didn’t have to have a conversation with my 3-year-old about what happened in a church that day. I’m so not equipped for these things! Where do you even start?
Guess what, I don’t know. So our Radio Theology team asked an expert, Holly Sayer, MA, LPC, LMHC from Restore Renew Online.
Here are her suggestions:
· Turn off the news! Kids can’t process it over and over again—images and news captions are intended to increase fear. Isn’t that the truth!
· Encourage kids to ask questions. Let them lead the discussion and don’t over-share details.
· Reassure them they are safe and talk about what measures are taken every day by adults to ensure this.
· Teach them mindfulness and self-soothing skills daily. Deep breathing, stretching, and remembering we only have this moment.
· Stick to a routine at home. The more kids know what to expect in their days, the more secure they feel.
I love these and will not only file them away for future use, but I’ll also start practicing them now for the time when I’ll inevitably be the one explaining to my daughter why bad things happen to innocent people.
And I’ll add my own. Keep hope alive by stepping up your love game. Thoughtfully encourage everyone you interact with. One by one we actually can make this world a better place.
Veteran mamas, what are your thoughts? What do you say to your kids? What can you tell us not-quite-there-yet mamas? Sound off in the comments. Help a sister out!