“School will be closed for the rest of the year.” We told our kids a few weeks ago, and they reacted with questions and emotion:
“What about my friends? Will I see my teacher again?”
“Yay! It’s summer break!”
“This is weird.”
“How about my fifth-grade field trip?”
For our daughter, her question was, “What about Market Day?” Second grade is the year of Market Day. She’s witnessed her siblings have the experience of making fun items to sell, and then their joy after school with their bags full of purchases. It looked glorious to her. Market Day was supposed to be in late April, and she’d started brainstorming. When told about school closing, her little face scrunched up, and tears spilled. “What about Market Day?”
The pandemic has brought many disappointments. Their special plays and concerts have been canceled, school years cut short, sports seasons never played, and goodbyes never said. Each is a loss to grieve.
- Field trips
- Spring break
- Field day
- Market Day
- End of the year parties
- Awards ceremonies
- Fifth-grade graduation
- High school graduation
- Soccer season
And on the list goes.
The quarantine has brought so much change. Our kids are stuck at home, their routines are flipped upside down, their freedom has been lost, and they’re distanced from friends and family. Life as they knew it is canceled.
These closures and cancellations are disappointing, emotional, and real for our kids.
As adults, our vantage points give us perspective. We know that this too shall pass. We know that social distancing is difficult yet necessary. We also know that if we are healthy while so many others are hurting, we can be grateful. But our kids aren’t there yet. To them, it is harder to look beyond their own fallen apart worlds.
It is a parent’s instinct to want to tidy up disappointments for our kids. We want to make them all better, distract them, or give them gratitude lessons. Those sound reasonable, but we must tread carefully.
So how can you help your children cope with their disappointments?
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Sam Thomas