Provided by Prince William County Schools (PWCS)
The cancellation of school and other activities will impact your children in unexpected ways. Here are some tips to help them process their disappointment.
- Calm is contagious: Check your own emotions. Parents need to monitor and manage their own worry, especially in front of children. And, be aware that breaking tough news to your kids may spark your own anxiety.
- Honesty is best: At any age, honesty is the best approach. However, try not to use abstract phrases children won’t understand, like “think about the elderly” or “for the greater good.”
- Validate emotions: Acknowledge what your child is experiencing, whether that is fear or disappointment.
- Naming the emotion (by saying, “That must be so disappointing.”) helps kids put words to what they are feeling. Ultimately, children will remember how you responded to their emotions and tried to help them.
- Share their feelings. Kids take comfort in knowing it’s okay to have these feelings and that others have them too; let them know other children probably feel like they do, and even you are a little sad or worried.
- Hear them. Rather than avoiding painful issues, listening to and talking with your child about cancellations and changes can help turn a potentially upsetting situation into an opportunity for them to learn how to manage stress and disappointment.
- Keep to a schedule, find distractions, and focus on opportunities: these tips are excerpted from the New York Times article, “Handling Your Kid’s Disappointment When Everything Is Canceled,” by Erinne Magee. View the article for more information, ideas, and activities.