How to Help a Child Feeling Sad

Recently, I aired an interview with the author of the bestselling Jesus Storybook Bible, Sally Lloyd-Jones. One of the things she talked about was how to navigate the COVID–19 crisis with children. Another bestselling author shared some timely advice along that vein on my blog too. Glenys Nellist conveyed 7 tips to help a child who is feeling sad as she launches her newest book, Little Mole Finds Hope. Glenys writes: 
 

When I picked up the pen over two years ago to write Little Mole Finds Hope, I never imagined how timely its message would be. In a world that just turned upside down for so many, we need signs of hope.

When Little Mole is feeling sad in his deep underground burrow, his wise mama knows that he needs signs of hope too. Together, they venture out, up towards the light. On the way, Mama shows Little Mole a daffodil bulb lying squashed and lifeless in the dark soil, bare branches looming above that have no signs of life, and a shriveled chrysalis hanging inside of a flowerpot. Each time when Little Mole insists that “It’s dead, Mama,” Mama invites her son to close his eyes and imagine the yellow daffodil, the leafy trees, and the beautiful butterfly that will one day emerge.

The central message of this spring-themed picture book is that hope can be found even in the darkest place. During this anxious time in our world, when our little ones might be feeling afraid or sad, you, the parent, are their primary hope-giver. Here are a few tips to help a child who is feeling sad:

  • Acknowledge how your child is feeling.
  • Ask him or her to talk about or draw his/her feelings. Listen and empathize.
  • Reassure your child that his/her sadness will not last forever.
  • Hug your child. Don’t stop until your child lets go.
  • Spend time together doing something enjoyable.
  • Teach your child gratitude. Find a way to record "things that made me smile today." Use a journal or "gratitude jar" containing slips of paper.
  • Adequate sleep, good nutrition and regular exercise all contribute towards your child’s emotional health and well-being.

Stay safe, be well, and look for HOPE!

—Glenys Nellist, Children’s Author


headshot of author Noelle KirchnerRev. Noelle Kirchner, M.Div., believes we don't have to live with full schedules and thin souls. A busy mom of three boys, she is a graduate of Northwestern University and Princeton Seminary and an ordained Presbyterian minister who has served in churches for over ten years. She has written for places like the TODAY Show Parenting Team, Huff Post Parents, Crosswalk, iBelieve, and (in)courage. Her faith and family cable television show, "Chaos to Calm," features parenting hot topics and has hosted four New York Times bestselling authors and two Emmy Award-winning journalists. Watch her episodes or sermons and sign up for her free devotional e-book by visiting her website, noellekirchner.com. You can connect with her on social media (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook) and also check out her book, How to Live Your Life Purpose: The Six-Step Journey to God's Best, that launched as a #1 New Release on Amazon and includes end-of-chapter Bible studies.