This post is sponsored by Responsibility.org. All opinions are my own
With everything going on right now in the world, I'm trying hard to make things as normal as possible for Pookah.
Not shielding him from the truth, but in routine and everyday life.
This was Pookah's last year of elementary school, and we missed all of those important rituals that signal the transition from school to summer: graduation, visits from grandparents, first summer vacation, first visit to the pool.
It's hard this year, since NOTHING is the same. All of our summer vacation plans, camp plans and trips to the pool and playdates over friends' houses are not an option.
And I know our family is not the only one dealing with this.
So what can we do? How can we talk to our kids and make this transition easier for them?
In early May, I participated in a zoom call with a group of influencers, Repsonsibility.org and Brian Coleman, a licensed school counselor and American School Counseling Association’s (ASCA) 2019 School Counselor of the Year to talk about how to talk to our kids about all the emotions that they are having and how to cope during this summer of change.
He gave us lots of tips that I want to share with you to help us all help our kids AND US, cope this summer.
5 Tips to Help Our Kids Cope Emotionally This Summer.
1.Listen to them
Stop Talking! I know this is hard for a lot of us because we want to fix everything. But this is the time to listen and let our kids share what they are feeling and experiencing in their own voice. And if your kids aren't ready to talk, make sure to leave the door open. Let them know that you are there when they are ready to talk.
2. When it's time, ask open-ended questions
Open ended questions prompt conversations because they can't be answered with just a yes or a no.
So, “Are you okay?” is not open-ended. Kids want to please us, so it's easy for them to just say yes.
But a “How are you feeling?” is open-ended and can lead to real conversation.
3. Acknowledge That This is Hard
Everything is NOT rainbows and sunshine right now! Make sure that you keep it real and acknowledge the limitations of this situation.
This is NOT normal!
Be authentic with your children and tell them it's OK to feel the frustration of not being able to go to prom, walk across the stage or hang out with their friends in person. Acknowledge that this is hard.
4. Keep Them Positive
After you acknowledge everything is hard, make sure to find the positive. Celebrate the wins in your life!
Maybe your kid finally read a whole chapter book by themselves! Or the family has been playing a weekly game of monopoly, or you finally got to camp out in the backyard. Or maybe your kids have a standing weekly zoom call with their friends.
Whatever it is, celebrate it.
5. Don't pour from an empty cup
Parents, don't forget about yourselves! Remember, practicing positive coping strategies is a form of self-care.
Everyday, make sure you ask yourself: how will I show up for myself today? That might be reading a book, binge-watching that new Netflix show, or working out.
This is the perfect time to show your kids that you are taking care of yourself. Because if they don't see you prioritizing your own self care, they will never learn to do it for themselves. Remember to be mindful of how you express your emotions, our kids learn from us and mimic our behaviors good or bad.
When it comes to alcohol, make sure that you are making a positive impression on your kids both younger and older. Show them that you are choosing to drink responsibly instead of needing to drink to take away pain or stress.
Words matter: try saying ” I'm going to enjoy a glass on wine on the patio”, instead of “Mommy needs a drink.: Our kids are watching and listening.
Hoepfully these startegies help your kids and YOU cope this summer.
This topic is a part of my partnership with Responsibility.org this year. Responsibility.org is committed to cultivating lifelong conversations with our kids about alcohol responsibility.
They are working to encourage conversations between parents and kids from a very you age to help build trust so that kids continue to talk with their kids as they get older and the choices that they face get harder.
Please check out their website for resources for parents with kids as young as 6-9 all the way to college.