How Our Kids are Coping During Coronavirus Crisis

kids and coronavirus

COVID-19 has brought a variety of emotions into our home, and I’ve wanted to know how our kids were coping with the coronavirus dynamics. “I have realized that I’m dealing with coronavirus feelings by thinking,” William said at dinner the other night. “It helps me when I read a lot and think a lot.”

Kids and Coronavirus Emotions

William couldn’t specify his feelings. He couldn’t name sadness or fear. We all know people who are sick. We all know that people we love could die. But our day-to-day interactions are tinged more with loneliness and impatience than they are with grief or fear. Still, even if we can’t feel our feelings, we know they are there. 

“How about the rest of you?” I asked. “How are you dealing with feelings about the coronavirus and all this?”

Marilee, who has been sleeping 14-15 hours per day for the past two weeks, batted her eyes and mimed going to bed. 

“Penny?” I asked. 

She looked up from her dinner and nodded. “I’m texting.”

So there it is. Thinking. Sleeping. Texting. 

If I’m honest, I’m not that different. Yes, in this time, I have prayed more frequently. I have noticed that on days when I take a run, I feel better. I have learned to pay attention—when every muscle in my shoulders and neck got tight the other night, I knew to ask myself what my body was trying to tell me rather than just shrugging off the tension. 

But I’m also drinking more wine. And eating more potato chips. And eating more dark chocolate covered almonds with sea salt from Trader Joe’s. And trying to find the balance between being gracious to myself but not justifying self-destructive behavior. 

Coping Mechanisms in Our House

So. In our house, we are: Thinking. Sleeping. Texting. Drinking. Eating. Praying. Running. And we are feeling. Feeling the worry, the grief, the boredom, the loneliness, the gratitude, the happiness. 

The truth is we are all, kids and adults alike, going to turn to coping mechanisms—some healthy, some not-so-much—in this time of coronavirus and stress. For me, noticing those behaviors without passing judgment on them helps me to address feelings underneath the behaviors more directly. I don’t want to condemn or deny the feelings. But I also don’t want to get stuck in them. What I do want is to stay connected to feeling how very human we are. How very frail and vulnerable and broken. How very beautiful and interconnected and precious. How very capable of receiving love and giving love in return.


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