I posted my 11-year-old on Instagram with the caption “… writing on our feelings wall.” Sunday evening my three kids and nephew talked about the COVID-19 pandemic. We placed a large post-it on the wall in my living room, wrote the word ‘feelings’ in the middle of it, and proceeded to unload.
My intention was to talk with them about the virus and make sure they understood that yes, things are serious, but life is not over. I started with a video by Dr. Michelle Dickinson “Conoravirus Explained! (for kids)”, which they reluctantly watched. But once it was over, and we began the “Feelings Wall”, they were so into it, that I was surprised. I initially asked them to write just one feeling that came to mind about this situation. But they wanted to continue writing. I realized it became more about sharing and less about the virus.
Prior to this, to me, they all seemed to understand the situation and appeared to be coping with everything. We had talks about the virus, the frequent changes in school and extracurricular schedules. But they felt “in their heads” so-to-speak. After the Feelings Wall, they were relieved to know others felt just as scared, worried, or annoyed as they were. Normally, we are a pretty open, vocal, and honest family so for them to think they were alone in this speaks volumes about what we are facing!
Everyone, naturally, is scared in some way. But be sure that you encourage your children to express their concerns. Giving them a safe way to open up is key. Whether it’s a feelings wall or a chat about what’s happening. Be open and honest without being scary. Meditate or think through what you want to say before speaking with them. Be mindful and take cues about what they are ready for.