I hope that you are well and finding continued strength and patience to deal with our “shelter in place” situation. I know that many of you continue to try and work from home while keeping your children occupied and up to date with schoolwork. I am thinking of you so often, but I am also thinking of your children and the effects this strange time might have on them.
MR ROGERS BOOK READING
I am including a reading from from a book that Mr. Rogers published in 1986. It’s a bit lengthy, but too good and too relevant not to share with you:
“Thoughts: Play & Coping” from the book, Mister Rogers’ Playbook-Insights and Activities for Parents and Children
“Most of us can remember a time that was very hard for us.”
“It seems probable that every one of us has buried some painful events – and the feelings that went with them – so deeply that they’re hard for us to find again. At the other extreme, some of us may still be so shaken by the aftershocks of a past event – even one long past – that we can’t get any distance from it at all and can’t seem to move beyond it. I think what we’d all like is for these crises, after a time, to blend into the landscape of our lives so that they no longer jump out at us when we look back at where we’ve been.”
“What makes the difference? There’s no complete answer, but many of us who have worked with children have seen how helpful it is to them to talk and play about the feelings they have about the crises they’ve been through. It seems children’s strong feelings naturally tend to show up in their play, but it certainly helps if their close caregivers support such play by letting them know that it’s not only okay, but important.”
“There are so many childhood upsets. There are emotional and physical hurts; trips to emergency rooms; stays in hospitals; births of brothers and sisters; first trips to the doctor, dentist, or barber; going to school for the first time; moving to a new home; deaths of pets and people…the list could go on and on.”
“There’s one that I’ve mentioned before, and perhaps it’s the most important one of all because it’s a part of so many others: times when people you love leave you. There is so much that children can weather well when someone they love is close by. And there are so many seemingly little things that can upset children profoundly when they’re separated from those they love.”
“You may be surprised to find how often, when your child goes through a crisis, there is an element of separation involved. You may be surprised, too, to see how often your child plays about things that go away from each other….and then come back together again. That’s one way children have of becoming more comfortable with the times when you have to be away from them-and of reassuring themselves that you will come back again.”
“This kind of play, of course, isn’t only valuable in helping come to terms with things that have already happened. Many events that may cause anxiety are foreseeable. Play, in advance, can be such a help in feeling ready for them!”
Here are some activities and websites for this week-
- Water The Flowers Handout (Print to color and fill out)
- artprojectsforkids.org (Cirlcle Flowers and Markers)
- gluedtomycraftsblog.com (Popsicle Stick Handprint Flowers)
- themailbox.com (Free Printables)
- myteachingstation.com (Educational Resources)
- book – The Invisible String by Patrice Karst
- book- Inch by Inch (The Garden Song) by Dave Mallett
This pandemic is not the same as Mister Rogers suggests, in the sense that, we adults cannot predict what the foreseeable future will be like. We cannot, with confidence, play with our children and suggest what’s going to happen and what will not. But we can, in play with our children, talk about missing our family, our friends, our teachers, our routines, and our hopes for what we will do when we come back together.
By taking some time each day to play with our children, to draw with them, to write with them, and to read together, we can open the door for their thoughts to expose themselves, and in this way we can share the fact that we ourselves feel very much the same way.