Right now, kids and adults who are stuck at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-in-place orders are under a lot of stress. This is a time to be extra sensitive to everyone’s mental health needs, but it can be hard to know what to do. There’s no blueprint for getting through a global pandemic. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a licensed therapist to help your kids — and yourself — develop resilience. There are some simple things you can do, say, and talk about together that can make a difference.
Research shows that kids who are more familiar with family stories are more resilient than their peers, probably because of the sense of belonging that comes from knowing who they are and where they fit into a whole family unit. Resilient kids handle stress better. And it’s not just kids who benefit from sharing family stories: adults who know their histories have better mental health than those who don’t. Many of us have ancestors who lived through some of the worst moments in history: wars, genocide, economic hardship and even other outbreaks of disease. Their stories can be particularly helpful right now, and could give everyone in the family much-needed perspective on how to get through hard times.
So sit down, share stories and encourage your whole family to learn from the lessons of the past. Maybe remembering Great-Grandma’s struggles will be just what you need to get through the COVID-19 pandemic.