Covid brings with it feelings of anxiety, stress and uncertainty. Though children deal with emotions in different ways, your child has been faced with school closures, cancelled events or separation from friends, they are going to need to feel loved and supported now more than ever.
Having an open, supportive discussion with your children can help them understand, cope and even make a positive contribution to others.
I would like to suggest a simple tool that is called:
Temperature Reading. This tool universalizes feelings in a non-confrontive and supportive way that all members of a family can participate. Virginia Satir who was a pioneer in family therapy, coined this name and method. This opens the door for sharing and listening. This is one of my favorite exercises that I like using when I meet a family, and often use it as a check in at the beginning of a session. Even the youngest member of a family can join in. As you begin or end the week, this can become a regular time for your family to meet and connect.
Everyone is given a chance to speak without interruptions.
There are no right or wrong answers. This is exactly what you are doing when you take a temperature reading in a family…a sacred space to check in without judgement.
1. Appreciations: An opportunity to express validation to others or even yourself. So often we are happy to say what is wrong, negative reinforcement. To stop and reflect on what I liked, what gave me a good feeling, something that the other person did or said that warmed my heart or made me feel…. wow that was really nice.
2. Worries or Puzzles: Life’s irritations, worries and concerns. I can express these thoughts and feelings without knowing the outcome.
3. New Information: A place to ask for what you want or need. Something that I forgot to mention, something I just remembered.
4. Problem and Recommendation: I have a problem and now I am also looking at different possibilities of how I can overcome this.
5. Hopes and Wishes: This is what I hope for today or tomorrow. Hopes and wishes would allow me to dream, to keep my heart open.
This is a wonderful skill for your communication toolbox. I offer family sessions teaching and practicing this skill, in particular at this uncertain time this can help you and your family stay grounded, connected and supportive with each other.
The benefit of Temperature Reading reduces negativity and criticism, and cooperation and empathy increase. Ideas are shared and acknowledged, and here we can begin to recognize differences.
We don’t know everything; new things are happening all the time.
Life is endlessly forming itself into new possibilities.