Around the world, families are feeling the effects of COVID-19 pandemic. The Nutrien Family is experiencing very unusual circumstances, too, whether we’re working from home to protect front-line workers, or doing overtime to ensure the world’s food supply stays strong. Students are being asked to learn at home, and parents are also becoming their teachers.
All of these changes can bring up feelings that are hard to deal with. If there’s ever been a time when a “Feelings Check-In” was needed with your family, it’s now.
A Feelings Check-In isn’t anything formal, and it can be different depending on how you best communicate. If you eat together as a family, dinner time might be a good place to start, but you can start talking about your feelings with your kids, spouse, and other family members anytime. Even text messages can be good ways to connect emotionally, especially with teens.
The first step of a “Family Feelings Check-In” is for an adult of the family to start talking honestly about how they are feeling. It could be a very simple statement, like, “I’m nervous about getting sick.” That might open the door to someone else seeing that they can be honest and open, too. Then, ask your kids and partners open-ended questions that leave room for them to share their thoughts about what’s going on in the world. Make sure to reassure them that their feelings are valid.
One thing to remember is that if a family member shares something personal, do your best to not be judgemental in response. They might not feel comfortable with sharing in the future, and will bottle up their emotions rather than talk to you.
However you do it, whether in a group or one-on-one, this check-in will make a big difference. It might take some practice to open up to each other, but the payoff will be a healthy family and stronger relationships.