Help your child get through the stress of the recession

Stress from today’s recession is eating away at the lives of all family members. From the elderly grandparent living on a fixed income, to the weary breadwinner with no job in sight, to the child who cannot understand why there will be no trip to Disney World this summer. It isn’t possible to provide a life free of stress for your child, but you can provide a life with dignity, support and unconditional love.

First of all face the facts. The family has to know the truth about the financial limitations. Obviously, the information must be age-appropriate. The four year old simply needs to be told that the trip to Disney World will be postponed. Once there is enough extra money to spend, it will be rescheduled. As for now, there is enough money to pay the bills, keep the family safe and fed, and there is always enough time for family fun. Older children need to feel secure in the fact that there will always be a family there for support, and that this crisis will pass.

Arrange for more family activities. Taking time for arranging activities where all family members can enjoy each others company is important. Take your family out for picnics, go bike riding, enjoy the day fishing, go to the local playground, or play a game of basketball, volleyball or softball. Pick a day for a home project to be completed. Clean out the garage, work on clearing the attic of unwanted items, or tackle each child’s closet. At the end of the day, enjoy a favorite dinner together and follow that with a movie, free from the local library.

Limit negativity. This important for children, and is equally important for the parents as well. Yes, we all know these are dreadful times, however, you cannot wallow in what you cannot change. Turn off the TV if the negativity gets too much for anyone to handle. Don’t spend too much time with relatives or neighbors who cannot get out of the “negativity rut.” Seek out support from proactive, positive families who are surviving with dignity.

Present yourselves as a family of survivors with unconditional support and love for each other. Create an atmosphere of positive possibilities, and not of negative emptiness. Together your family can be creative and get through this recession. Show your children that dignity and unconditional love does not have a price tag.