Tough times happen. Sometimes they are expected other times they are not. Illness, job loss, death of a loved one, all are hard to deal with! Kids may not always understand what is going on when your family goes through tough times.
How Do You Talk To Your Kids About Tough Times?
You might be wondering if you should say anything at all. Pretend it’s not happening. Kids are smarter than we think they are. They can pick up on stress in the house. Don’t leave them guessing. It’s okay to tell them what’s going on.
Social Stories To The Rescue!
Social stories are a great tool to help kids learn about what’s going on. Keep reading for tips on how to talk to your kids about tough times and a social story that helps you do that!
Tips To Talk To Your Kids About Tough Times
When it comes to talking to our kids about tough times it’s normal to not know what to say. Will my child understand? How much should I tell them? Sometimes we don’t always know what is going on. It’s stressful trying to be strong for our kids.
To ease the stress of talking to kids about hard situations try the following:
- Keep language simple instead of a lot of details
- Use specific examples rather than vague information
- Give the information they need to know
- Tell them what they can expect to go through and what they won’t go through
- Offer reassurance
- Try to answer their questions as best you can
- Label feelings that they might feel
Social Story For Tough Times
Here is a little social story to help you as you talk with your child about tough times. You can fill in the blanks so the story fits your situation.
- Sometimes bad things can happen. Our family is dealing with ___________(insert situation.) This is called a tough time. You may not know what to think or feel.
- It can be scary to go through a tough time. You may feel sad, confused or scared. It’s okay to feel this way.
- When you feel this way it’s okay to talk about it. Tell someone you love when you feel sad, confused or scared. They can help you with your feelings.
- Peope who can help you are __________(insert name of persons who can help), _________, or _____________.
- You can do things so you don’t feel sad confused or scared. You can turn off the TV or stop googling things. You can do things that make you feel calm and happy.
- Things that make you calm and happy are ________(list favorite calming activities), __________, or ____________.
- There are people who are helping with ___________(insert situation) too.
- ______________(insert name of person or profession like doctor) is working hard to help our family.
- You will be okay and soon ________ (insert situation) will go away.
Tough times are never easy for anyone. Talking to kids about tough times isn’t easy either. If you’re stressed about it, go easy on yourself. This social story will make talking about tough times with your kids a whole lot easier.
Elizabeth Purpero is a licensed school counselor and licensed professional counselor-in-training. She has her master’s in counseling psychology. Elizabeth has worked as an autism therapist with children and teens. During her career, she has worked in intensive at-home therapy programs utilizing ABA and play therapy along with OT and speech therapy techniques. She has also worked as a mental health therapist helping clients address their mental health issues as it relates to autism. Elizabeth’s background working with the autism community has greatly helped her work with students in schools too. She has helped teachers implement effective strategies, create goals for IEP’s and make classrooms more sensory-friendly. Mark Twain once said, “Write what you know about,” and Elizabeth enjoys writing about autism-related topics and providing additional resources to help those impacted by autism.