Daniel Tiger is a big deal in our house, especially since the quarantine. This popular children’s show is a spin-off of the popular show Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. While I was sitting with my daughter the episode that was playing showed a big storm sweep through the neighborhood. When they emerged from their homes there was a large amount of destruction that could be seen. The children were upset, but daddy tiger encouraged them to “look for the helpers” in the midst of all of the damage. This is a quote from the great Mr. Roger’s himself who said:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news,
my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers.
You will always find people who are helping.”
In the middle of the coronavirus crisis there is a lot of fear, scary things on the news, and confusing alterations to routines that children most definitely pick up on. As much as we try to shelter our children, there are instances where communicating with them and providing validation to their concerns can be more healing. This phrase, look for the helpers, aims to do just that. When discussing the current situation with older children emphasize the productive steps being taken to keep everyone safe and happy and encourage them to look for the helpers by talking about the brave doctors and health professionals who are working to help people feel better. Talk about how they are helpers too by taking care of younger siblings, helping around the house, and/or doing their homework. Perhaps make thank you cards with them leave on the door for the HEB delivery person who drops off your groceries. This phrase is not meant to be used in isolation, and rather encourages a holistic approach to easing a child’s worry that includes maintaining routines as best as possible and providing lots of physical comfort. Children are incredibly resilient and flexible, but it may take time for some to adapt to the new normal. Practicing patience, understanding, and good communication of feelings will serve as a model for your children of how to persevere during challenging times.
Written By: Alexandra Reustle, M.A., Doctoral Intern – San Antonio Location