Life is full of ups and downs. None of us is immune to the trouble that comes along our paths. Sadly, even your children will have to face difficult moments. And like adults, they too are emotionally affected when bad things happen. Learning how to help them navigate through such sad times is not easy. However, it is always helpful to be prepared.
Sad news is bound to occur at some point. You are likely to be affected first, so it is important to take care of yourself. That way, you can be the strong shoulder your child will need to lean on.
Support yourself first
Chances are that if you are having to deliver bad news, it’s something that is upsetting you as well. Stop and check in with yourself, how are you holding up? Have you been sleeping? Are you feeling on edge and anxious? What supports do you have in place for yourself? This is going to depend on the situation, but you may need to talk out your emotions with friends or a family member before you talk to your kids. If anything, get the support so that you can work through what you need to say without unloading too much information on your kid because you’ve not processed the news yourself. Read more at The Loop…
Remember, you really don’t have to do this on your own. You can always get help from the people you trust. This will help you better manage the process.
When the time comes to break the bad news to your child, there are several considerations to make. The following advice from experts in child health will help you:
- Consider the age of your child, developmentally and chronologically. Is there a chance your child will hear about it elsewhere? Remember to speak in terms that are age-appropriate, to ensure the child understands.
- Your child should be in a calm, familiar and safe environment when it’s time to discuss the difficult news.
- Demonstrate for your child that you are in control of your own emotions, but that it is okay to show your feelings if you are upset by the news as well. Validate feelings and let him or her know it is okay to experience difficult feelings when receiving bad news.
- Be specific when you speak about the event to help your child contain anxiety and maintain a sense of safety in the world despite the distressing event.
- Be honest, but filter out what is necessary and what is not. You might tell children something more vague, and let them know that if they hear about something they can always ask you questions about it. Read more at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles…
Most children are inquisitive, so allow time for questions. Try to answer your child’s questions as best as you can. Then remember to keep the communication lines open so that they can still feel free to ask later.
How then do you comfort your child once the news has been delivered? The best you can do is to give reassurance. Also, provide an environment where your child can express her feelings.
Your touch has magic soothing properties. Sometimes a crying baby needs to be held close to your body. She rests her head on your shoulder as you firmly and lovingly support her back, swaying from one foot to the other while you murmur soothing sounds.
Research shows that the more promptly you pick up and soothe a crying baby, the quicker the baby will stop crying. The baby who trusts that you can comfort him is more likely to stop crying within a short period of time when you pick him up for a cuddle. Read more at Scholastic…
Babies and toddlers all need to feel secure. A gentle touch is a perfect way to communicate your presence. Having a community of caring people also contributes to a general sense of comfort for your child.
At Spanish for fun! we offer exactly that — a caring community that is committed to the welfare of your child. Call us today at 919-881-1160 to learn more about our loving learning community, including scheduling an appointment to tour any of our four Triangle-area campuses.