Our Children Are Watching
and Listening

By Jeffrey Wolfish, LCPC is a therapist at Jewish Community Services 

Everyone is challenged or struggling in one way or another as the world adapts to the COVD-19 pandemic.  With each passing week, there are different aspects of daily life that force us to adjust to the “new normal.” 

We are flooded with information; a lot of it negative and contradictory.  Parents and caregivers have never been home so often with their children during the academic year, which presents its own unique challenges. 

It should not be shocking for parents to hear that children pick up on everything. As such, children are hearing a lot of information from news, social media, siblings, and parents about the pandemic. Much of it is quite scary for younger kids. They hear about illnesses, hospitalizations, and sadly many deaths.   

There are several steps parents can take to help their children during this crucial time. 

Listen to what are your kids are communicating about their fears. This may be expressed verbally, but also behaviorally.   

Empathize. Validating a child’s feelings is an invaluable tool as well as an incredible teaching opportunity. Children (and adults) are allowed to be worried, and it is very normal during these circumstances. 

Inform. Younger children may often misunderstand things they hear and have a hard time knowing the difference between accurate and inaccurate information. 

A child may approach their parents expressing concern about their own safety or the safety and well-being of their parents. Promising the child that everything will be ok is not effective, as we cannot guarantee anything.  

However, it is important and helpful to provide assurances about what is being done to protect them. For example, it is fine to tell the child that parents, medical experts, and local government are doing everything they can to keep everyone as safe as possible.

Most people are not sick, and those who do contract the virus end up recovering. Doctors, nurses, and hospitals are working very hard to keep people safe and healthy. 

If you or your children need help, know that JCS professionals are available. If you need guidance, resources or assistance, please call the JCS Access Line at 410-466-9200 or email info@jcsbaltimore.org.

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