reading with kids

How to Talk with Kids About Traumatic Events

reading with kids

We understand parents are worried about the mental wellbeing of their family. In these trying times, it’s especially important for children to feel seen, supported and heard. 

As our kids grapple with feelings of confusion and big questions, they need us now more than ever. To help you have difficult conversations, we’re sharing tips from youth development professionals at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

  1. Process your own emotions. Label your own emotions and use self-care strategies – kids will look to you as role models for how to cope with their emotions.
  2. Listen to your child(ren). Allow them to speak freely about their feelings without interruptions or interjections. This creates trust for healthy dialog.
  3. Set up options and provide clear directions for managing overwhelming emotional responses. These options could include permission to leave the room or just having a period of silence for processing or support.
  4. Validate and de-escalate emotions when possible, but also realize that some children, especially those who have experienced complex trauma, often have difficulty identifying, expressing, and managing emotions.
  5. Check in with your child periodically throughout the day, to ensure that they are managing emotional experiences in a healthy manner and that they continue to feel safe.
  6. As a parent or caregiver, remember you don’t have all the answers. That’s okay. Learn to say “I don’t know” or invite others to share their own answers instead.
  7. Be authentic and respectful. It is natural to worry whether you are saying “the right thing.” However, respectful authenticity is often more important because the chief contributor to a psychologically safe environment/ home is learning to have honest conversations in healthy and constructive ways.
  8. Seek help if you still don’t feel comfortable with having the discussion with your child. Ask for help from another family member, friend, or professional to provide emotional support & guidance.
  9. Offer a variety of ways for your child(ren) to deal with their emotions in productive, constructive, and meaningful ways. Consider devoting time to physical activities, art, music, and/or quiet time following your discussions.
  10. Look for solutions. Kids are action-oriented – ask, “What can we do to create positive change in our community?” and support them in starting a meaningful project or campaign

Thank you to the Boys and Girls Club for sharing these important tips! We encourage you to share these best practices with your friends and loved ones. Together, as a community and a nation, we can find a path forward where children have a voice in creating the positive change every person deserves.

For more parent resources from the Boys and Girls Club, visit https://www.bgca.org/news-stories/

hiking with baby

Summer 2020: How To Make The Most Of It

hiking with baby

 

Your calendar is probably peppered with canceled vacations, shuttered pools and closed playgrounds. However, summer is not completely canceled! This time of year is meant to be spent with friends and loved ones, both relaxing and having fun. We’ve rounded up the best ways to make the most of it to help combat boredom and keep your spirits lifted. 

 

Find the most beautiful place within 100 miles and go there. Each state has a wealth of natural beauty to explore just a short car ride away. To find a state or national park near you, visit The US National Park Service’s website.  

 

Send kids to virtual camp. Summer camp canceled? Many traditional camps have shifted online, which allows kids to stay engaged and busy – especially helpful for working parents. Parade magazine recently rounded up over 45 options for your consideration

 

Camp out in your own backyard. Just because travel is limited this summer, that doesn’t mean you can’t imitate experiences at home. Pitch a tent in the backyard for a few nights, and build a campfire if your city allows it.

 

Make it a s’mores night! Chocolate, graham crackers and marshmallows are a perfect combination for delicious summertime fun, and you don’t even need a fire pit.

 

Play flashlight tag. Play a few rounds of nighttime tag with your family or “quaranteam” in the backyard or in the neighborhood. If the other side’s flashlight “tags” you, you’re out. The darkness makes it all the more thrilling.

 

Go to the drive-in. If you have a drive-in in your town, head there with your own buttered popcorn and Raisinets. What’s old is cool again, as it seems that outdoor movie theatres are making a comeback during COVID-19.

 

Broaden your worldview. Read your kids age-appropriate books about cultures different from your family’s culture. Since people are isolating more, educators are encouraging us to read books that help keep our minds open and spur mental exploration. Visit Jambo Books for some family-friendly ideas.

 

Family reading time. Grab a cup of cocoa, a snuggly blanket and read one chapter from a classic book out loud every night together. Some books and poetry were meant to be not only read, but heard. Think Shakespeare’s monologues or Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches.

 

Plan a photo shoot. Choose a theme, select a location and get creative with props, costumes or a theme. Use a Polaroid camera to capture meaningful moments that will last for years to come.

 

Create a paint party. Arrange a family painting session with supplies, snacks and your favorite music playlist. Choose a painting to replicate, and learn about one another’s artistic styles.

 

Create a chalk obstacle course. There have been many fun movements for communities to come together in a safe, socially distanced way. Creating a chalk obstacle course on your sidewalk or driveway is a simple way to spread some joy in your corner of the world. 

 

Put on a concert together. Since hearing your favorite performer live in a large arena is risky at the moment, why not create a sing along with your pack. The Sing King channel on YouTube has karaoke song options for everyone!

 

Plan household gatherings. Hold weekly family meetings to see how everyone’s doing right now. Make it a safe space so people can share their thoughts and concerns without judgment. Use this as a time to practice healthy communication.