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3 Ways of Coping That Kids Can Learn

It’s One Crisis After Another.

We are dealing with death and taxes, disease and shortages, political division and global upheaval, and I still have to figure out what’s for dinner. It's exhausting.

Your children are dealing with all this, too. They are living through a pandemic, hear talk of war and all the rest. And still they have to do their homework. It’s exhausting.

How are they coping? That depends…how are you coping?

This is the essential question. Your children learn to cope by watching you. Here are 3 coping mechanisms that you and your children can use to deal with each crisis as they come.

  1. Turn it Down

All of this turmoil is loud. Even when we are reading about it, we hear it in our heads. Our minds jump from one concern to another and back again with lightning speed. It harasses us, competing for our attention and action.

Turn it Down. Take a break from reading about it, listening to it, talking about it, and thinking about it. In order to properly cope, our brains need a break. It clears a path to thinking and problem solving.

You’ll know when it’s time. When the turmoil gets too loud and any little irritation can set you off, it is time . Show your children how you turn it all off. Give your brain a break and go for a walk, listen to music, read a book, or just sit and breathe. Your children will learn to do this, too.

  1. Acknowledge what you can and cannot fix or control.

How much bandwidth are you using up by stressing over what is not in your control? Worry, discuss, think about and take action when there is something you do to make a difference. Let go of the circumstances and the anxiety over which you have no control. *Can you personally control inflation? No. Can you make adjustments to your purchasing habits? Yes.

*Can you personally control gas prices? No. Can you plan your driving more strategically? Yes.

Accepting what is not in their control is a very difficult concept for children. Model it and advise them.

*Can they personally eliminate a difficult homework task their teacher assigned? No. Can they write a note explaining they need their teacher’s help the next day at school? Yes

*Can they return their annoying younger sibling? No. Can they designate the toys they are willing to share? Yes.

  1. Stick to the routine.

Routines provide calm in an unpredictable world. Children thrive on routines.The morning routine, getting to school and work routines, and bedtime routine increase our bandwidth for handling all the spontaneous issues that inevitably present themselves. Scientists suggest that if we go to bed and wake up at the same time every day (including weekends) we have a more rejuvenating sleep. The best thing about routines is that we don’t really have to put much thought or worry when doing them. We just do them. If you do not have some routines in your day and week, start creating them now. It will be a relief.

Now, what am I going to make for dinner? I need to create a routine for that.

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