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Challenge: Reflecting on a Year of Pandemic Parenting

What We've Learned About Helping Kids Cope with Changes

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The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on all of us, but kids have been affected even more. Their entire lives have been upended, and many of them are too young to understand why. As caregivers, it's our job to help them cope with these changes. A good way to do that is to remember the acronym LEAP:

L= Listen to their feelings.

E= Encourage them to ask questions.

A= Advise them on how they can keep themselves healthy.

P= Practice healthy habits like social distancing and mask-wearing.

Listen.

Sometimes the best thing we can do as caregivers is listen to what our kids are trying to tell us. They may be hearing something about COVID-19 from many different sources, and they probably have a lot of concerns. Listen with an open mind and validate their feelings.

Encourage.

Once they've spoken about their feelings, encourage them to continue to ask questions whenever they come up. This will help keep them off social media and other sites that may not give the most accurate information. Having information about COVID-19 coming straight from you will help dispel any rumors that could cause kids more anxiety.

Advise.

No matter their age, kids look to adults for advice on essential topics. COVID-19 is one of the most significant challenges we will all face in our lifetime, so it's crucial that right now, you are giving them the best possible advice on how to stay healthy. If you aren't sure what direction to offer, consult with your child's teacher, pediatrician, or other important figure.

Practice.

Leading by example is the best way to get kids to learn. Practicing good hygiene and following all of the Centers for Disease Control's recommendations for COVID-19 is the best way to teach your children how to stay safe and healthy during the pandemic. This includes practicing social distancing, hand washing, mask-wearing, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Kids cope better with change than most adults, and they are very resilient. If we remain calm, they will be more likely to stay calm as well. Thinking before you "LEAP" into discussions about COVID-19 will ensure your kids are getting the most accurate information about it.

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.