6 Ways to Help Kids Handle Uncertain Times

Got anxiety? If you have a child who is struggling right now, there are things you can do. Here are some ways we can all help kids handle uncertain times.

We are living in historically important times right now. Years from now, people will look back at 2020 and the years shortly after and will talk about how we handled everything we’re facing and will judge us by the way we respond.

Life is dramatically different post pandemic and adults and children alike are experiencing higher levels of anxiety.

Our kids are looking to us to see how they should respond to rising prices, increased tensions, and everything else that’s going on around them. Our higher levels of stress are causing them to feel anxious as well.

So, what are we to do? How can we help our kids handle these uncertain times with more peace and less anxiety?

Here are 6 Ways to Help Kids Handle Uncertain Times:

1 – Talk about What’s Happening

One of the most important things we should do is talking to our kids about current events. The amount of information we share with them will differ depending on the ages of our kiddos. But if your kids have any access to the news or the internet, I can guarantee they are hearing a lot more concerning news than what many of us did while we were growing up. Encourage them to ask questions. Share your own concerns with them.

Be sure to remind them we aren’t alone in this and that our hope comes from our knowledge that God has this in control and that nothing will happen without him allowing it. That doesn’t mean that we will be free from experiencing tragedy in our lives. But if He allows to go through something hard, we know we aren’t going through it alone.

Here are some resources that can help teach your kids about germs and viruses.

What are Germs (Ages 2+) – What are germs? Where do they live and how do they spread? It’s time to zoom in for a closer look… This informational book for very young children has amusing and friendly illustrations, and children will love peeking under the flaps to find out all about germs and hygiene.

What is a Virus? (Ages 4 and up) – What is a virus? What do they do? How can we protect ourselves from them? Learn the answer to these questions and lots more in this fascinating lift-the-flap book.

Questions and Answers: What are Germs (Ages 5 and up) – What ARE germs? Where do they live? Are some germs good? Why do some make us sick? And how can we get BETTER? Meet the germ detectives to get the lowdown on these sneaky, microscopic invaders, from how they infect us, to how our bodies fight them off. A thought-provoking introduction to the science of germs.

2 – Give Them Ways to Work Through Their Feelings

Even though we’re past the pandemic, we’re all experiencing a wide range of emotions right now, from fear to uncertainty to anger. And kids and animals alike can sense when we’re more keyed up than usual. As parents, sometimes it’s hard for us to know how to help our kids voice their concerns and work through them in a way that’s therapeutic.

Deep breathing is one technique we can teach to our kiddos. I made a video about how to do this deep breathing a while back.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation is another way to help kids release tension. Have your child lay on the floor and starting with their head, have them try to squeeze their muscles as hard as they possibly can and then release them. Then move down to the next part of their body and do the same thing. Do this until they’ve gone through all of the muscle groups in their body.

Reframing thoughts is another technique for helping to work through anxiety. Have your child verbalize something they’re concerned about and then help them to restate that thought in a way that is more realistic. For example, if your child is concerned about our current health concern and his thought is, “If I catch this virus, I will die” you can help him to see that the chances of that happening are almost nonexistent. Help them to see that a far more realistic thought is, “If I catch this virus, I might get sick but I should recover just fine.”

Another helpful exercise is to encourage our kids to write out their thoughts and feelings in a journal. There are lots of wonderful journals that will help guide our kids through tough situations so that they can come out on the other side in a much healthier place. Here are some options for you to consider.

Be Brave (Ages 8+) – These activities and fun exercises will help you feel braver, understand your feelings, make choices about how to react, talk to others about your worries (if you want to), and grow in courage, confidence, and positivity.

No Worries (Ages 8+) – The supportive activities in this book are designed to tackle child anxiety and stress, help the child to work out how and why they feel worried, encourage them to talk to others about their worries (if they want to), and feel calmer.

Hello, Happy (Ages 8+) – The age-appropriate drawing and writing exercises in this book will help the child to define and understand their feelings, deal with emotions, and discover paths to happiness, peace, and positivity.

3 – Provide Positive Distractions

With so much scary stuff happening around us, it’s important than we are intentional about giving our kids positive distractions to take their minds off of these health and financial concerns. This is a great time to go on a hike together, play in the back yard, have a movie night, play games, read books together, etc.

Lots of us shifted our priorities due to circumstances in the past few years and are spending more time with our families, which is a good thing. Let’s be intentional about making lots of positive memories together.

4 – Work on our Own Mental Health

It’s easy to get wrapped up in taking care of our families during uncertain times, but we need to make sure we are also thinking about our own mental and emotional health. Self-care is important and it’s usually the first thing we ignore when we need it the most. If you think you don’t have time to recharge, try waking up and having time alone before your kids get up, giving your kids some quiet time in their rooms, or enlisting your spouse to watch the kiddos so that you can have some alone time.

5 – Get Outside as Often as Possible

If you or your kiddos are struggling, remember that fresh air and sunshine are healing! If it’s at all possible, try to spend some time outside. Let your kids run in a wide-open field, take a walk in the woods, walk on the beach… even just sitting in the backyard in a lawn chair while watching your kids play is restful. Even better, get in some exercise and run around in the back yard with your kiddos.

If your children are old enough, try to go for a walk on your own. Even if you’re walking laps around your house. We live in the country are we have a long driveway, so I enjoy walking up and down that while talking to God. It is an amazing way for me to get my prayer time while exercising.

6 – Stay Active

It’s so easy to mindlessly stare at our phones or other screens, which isn’t good for our mental health. Get the kids doing chores. Teach them life skills like cooking and cleaning. Try to keep it fun and do things together so that it’s more enjoyable for everyone. Staying active, checking things off your list, exercising, learning a new skill, etc will help you to feel good as you’re accomplishing more during your day.

Even though we are past the worst of it, we’re still loving in radically changing times and are constantly being bombarded with information that can cause us or our kids to feel anxious. If we take some of the above action steps, we will teach our kids valuable skills that they can take with them and use throughout their lives.

Have you recovered mentally from the last few years? How are your kids? How are you trying to help your kiddos work through their anxiety? Please leave a comment below!

4 thoughts on “6 Ways to Help Kids Handle Uncertain Times”

  1. Hi Michelle

    I hope you are all well? Great post thank you.
    We just got backyard chickens yesterday as NZ went into lockdown. So far it has been a great distraction for our boys. So much so that they don’t want to do their schoolwork! At least with homeschooling we have flexibility anyway and this is keeping all our minds off the anxiety of the current situation.
    Take care.

    1. Yes, Fiona, we are doing well. Michigan just went on lockdown Tuesday morning but we had pretty much quarantined ourselves for a few weeks before that. We’re fortunate that we have lots of places we can walk without even leaving family property, so that’s good. My husband started working from home yesterday so that’s an adjustment but we’re liking it so far. His company is asking for voluntary layoffs, though, so that worries us a little bit. But we know that God will get us through no matter what.

      I’m glad you got your chickens in time! You can teach them all sorts of things just by caring for their chickens. I’m sure you already know that. Maybe just do some chicken unit studies for a little bit to capitalize on their excitement. 🙂 Take care and please keep me posted on how you guys are doing over there. Big hugs from Michigan!!!

  2. Hi Michelle
    So glad you’re all well and safe. What a blessing a big property is for you.
    Our chickens are settling in well and my husband and sons have been slowly building another more permanent chicken coop, a great project at this time.
    I love your idea of doing a unit study. I had thought of doing something as the boys have been researching what they can eat and not eat etc but doing more of a study will also be a good break from some of our bookwork.

    Will be praying for you all. Take care.
    And big hugs from New Zealand!

    1. Gotta strike while the iron is hot, right?!? So glad your chickens are doing well and that your sons are enjoying all of their chicken-related projects. It’s always good to hear from you, Fiona. Thanks for taking the time to comment. It encourages me and warms my heart to hear from my readers. Take care and stay healthy and safe!!!

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