By: Anissa Wright , Family Finance Advocate
It’s hard to talk about money without veering into a discussion about the deep impact that COVID-19 has had on our families and others around us. While we are eagerly waiting for our stimulus checks from Uncle Sam (many have already received them), we need to keep in mind that our children need a “Stimulus Check” too as the effects of social distancing have undoubtedly resonated with them as well. Beyond the initial excitement of staying home from school due to a global pandemic, they are now realizing the true ramifications of this pestilent virus.
From missing prom and possibly graduation ceremonies to feeling lonely or isolated from their friends and teammates, the seriousness of what is happening can no longer be hidden from them, especially when the family’s finances are affected. A deeper conversation with our children may need to take place as the timeline for social isolation continues to grow. Yet, while this conversation must be candid, it does not have to be grim. Maintaining an informative and positive vibe around your home will not only bolster their sense of security during this time but yours as well. Here are five ways you and your family can find financial and mental peace during this time.
1. Be honest about the budget right now. COVID-19 has impacted everyone! There is no shame in being a victim of its nefarious economic effects. This may require a tightening of the purse strings for a while. And that’s ok! Share this with your children and let them know that during this time, the family is on a stricter budget than normal. Express the need for the family to work as a team and collectively find ways to save, reduce waste, and spend less. Setting this conversation within a paradigm of teamwork makes it less scary. Allowing them to be part of the planning will empower them to seek out solutions when they encounter obstacles later on in life.
2. Play fun and financial learning games. This is a great time to incorporate financial literacy into their home school plan. There is no shortage of them that are low cost or free. You may find that you will learn a thing or two as well.
3. Focus on the positives with budget-friendly entertainment. While this may not initially be an easy win (it took my teens a couple of weeks before they cherished the thought), budget-friendly family entertainment is awesome! Create your first family Tik-Tok, cook a meal together, have themed homeschool days (crazy hair day, backward clothes day, backyard water gun fights…etc.) Keeping the stress level down and fun levels up can have a healing effect on families that have been feeling the pressure during this time.
4. Pray together. You know what they say, a family that prays together, stays together. While everyone may not subscribe to it, focusing on spiritual health is closely correlated to mental health. And no one can deny that we are all being mentally challenged by COVID-19!
5. Schedule a Zoom Party. Let them hang out with their friends and family regularly to keep up morale. Just because they can’t see each other in person, doesn’t mean that can’t see each other at all. Help them maintain their social engagements to deflect increased feelings of isolation and depression.
We are all in this thing together, the kids included. Let’s be mindful that this is just as stressful for them as it is for us as parents. We must keep the doors of communication open and honest at all times. And while it may be hard for them to see the light at the end of this tunnel right now, this too shall pass. Until then, focusing on mental and financial peace is key, for everyone.
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