Listen, Talk, Have Faith: Keeping Kids Emotionally Centered During Challenging Times

June is over and many of us are preparing for a July 4th Celebration that aligns with the “new normal” of our current world.

Who knew 2020 would bring such challenges?!

I know of many people who (at the end of 2019) viewed “2020” as the year of “perfect vision

COVID19. To wear a mask…or to not wear a mask. Police brutality. Riots. Protests. Pain. Suffering. Great political divide. Food insecurities. Job insecurities.

Need I go on?

But I also think that 2020 will be the year that we look back on as the year of a Great Awakening.



So let’s not mentally, emotionally, and spiritually cancel the year that woke us all up. We will get through this, but as we navigate the slippery slopes of 2020 we need to be extra mindful of how the youngest generation is coping.

As a long-time family therapist, a few weeks ago I shared the first three pieces of advice for parents and caregivers on helping kids cope during uncertain times.

Now I have three more.

All six are simple, profound, and very doable.

Listen, Talk, Have Faith: Keeping Kids Emotionally Centered During Challenging Times


Excerpt from This is the Earth by Deedee Cummings
Excerpt from This is the Earth by Deedee Cummings

This is one you hear a lot, I know, but you hear it a lot because it is important, and it is often neglected. We intend to listen, but we often fail. When talking as a family use a card or other item that one person holds while they are speaking. No one else can talk if they are not holding the item. And eavesdrop. Yes, spy on your children. Kids are talking about the state of the world. They are talking about the virus, school, fears, the police. They are talking about George Floyd. Sometimes parents are afraid to talk to their children about these things because they do not know what to say or they do not want to instill fear in them. Guess what? They are talking about it anyway. Whose voice do you want in their head about current events? Yours? Or their 10-year-old friend named Chucky who has a Tik Tok account solely dedicated to all the different sounds his body can make?


Excerpt from This is the Earth
Excerpt from This is the Earth

It is a sad time for many. Some of us are not just adjusting to new routines. Some of us have suffered a genuine loss. Even those of us who have not suffered loss are dealing with trauma, frustration, and stress on some level. There is no shame in contacting a therapist to talk through the state of this world with a professional counselor. Many of us were stuck in a funk for a few weeks during this time. If you still find yourself unable to function (getting out of bed, showering, completing daily tasks) you need to seek professional help. It is easier than ever with many therapists now meeting by phone or something like a FaceTime app.

If your child has shut down, cries uncontrollably, or has a persistent fear or worry, they are struggling. If they express feelings of sadness or hopelessness that you cannot talk them through, they are really, really struggling, and it’s time to call a therapist to make sure that ALL of you are learning how to absorb the worries of this world without it absorbing your very being.

Have Faith

Excerpt from This is the Earth
Excerpt from This is the Earth

We will return to work, school, and football games. It will happen. We will one day need to shower again every day and pick up our old laundry schedule. This period in our lives has been more of a forced cocoon than a quarantine. There is so much we need to do, and work on, and listen to, and learn.

Ask yourself what you need to do to be ready when it is time to emerge from the cocoon.

Write it all down and then begin.

Shining the Spotlight on We Read Too!

We Read Too

We Read Too is a mobile directory of hundreds of pictures, chapter, middle grade, and young adult books written by authors of color featuring main characters of color.

Founder and speaker, Kaya Thomas has always been a voracious reader, yet growing up she rarely came across protagonists who looked like her.

“High school was when I started to realize that none of the characters were ever Black girls,” she shared. “This inspired me to make a change.”

Whether you are a parent, librarian, teacher, or student, We Read Too is the best resource for you to find diverse books for youth readers.

Our friends at StoryMonsters Magazine also have a special deal right now on a yearly subscription to their online monthly magazine. StoryMonsters is an excellent literary resource for teachers, librarians, and parents and new subscribers can enjoy a YEARS worth of this amazing publication for FREE.

Go here to subscribe and get the best children’s book news in your inbox every month!

About Deedee Cummings

As a therapist, attorney, author, and CEO of Make A Way Media, Deedee Cummings has a passion for making the world a better place. All 15 of Cummings’ diverse picture, poetry, and workbooks for kids reflect her professional knowledge and love of life. Colorful and vibrant, her children’s books are not only fun for kids and adults to read, they also work to teach coping skills, reinforce the universal message of love, encourage mindfulness, and facilitate inclusion for all. Cummings has spent more than two decades working within the family therapy and support field and much of her writing shares her experiences of working with kids in therapeutic foster care. As a result, her catalogs of published books for kids are filled with positive, hopeful messages. Using therapeutic techniques in her stories to teach coping skills, Cummings also strives to lessen the stigma that some people feel when it comes to receiving mental health assistance.
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