Talking to Children About Loneliness and Helping Them Cope

Dealing with emotions such as loneliness is not the forte of young children. They require socializing with others their age in order to develop language and communication skills, create relationships, and learn. In times when children are experiencing feelings of anxiety or isolation, it’s extremely important to address the issue and help children cope.

Upset child sitting on staircase
Talking to Children About Loneliness and Helping Them Cope

Maintaining One’s Own Emotional and Mental Health

If a parent is feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and emotional themselves, it’s very unlikely that they will be able to provide the right type of support a child needs to properly cope with feelings of loneliness. That’s why it’s important for each parent to schedule time for themselves to focus on their mental and physical self-care. Relying on caffeine and sugar alone to get us through the day is unhealthy and will never substitute proper rest and self-reflection.

Calmly Addressing the Child’s Feelings of Loneliness

When children aren’t getting enough exercise and interaction with other kids or beloved relatives, they begin to experience anxiety and feel lonely. These are feelings that they aren’t yet equipped to process, and this leads them to become moody, experience sleep issues, and become clingy. Although this can be draining on the parent, it’s necessary to approach the issue openly and with understanding. Talk to the child about how you feel and ask them to share their emotions as well. Be careful of oversharing as the goal is to encourage the child to open up rather than to burden them with the parent’s issues.

Mother holding her toddler
Talking to Children About Loneliness and Helping Them Cope

Providing Support and a Creative Outlet

When the communication lines are open and we know where the feelings of loneliness are coming from, creating structure and creative outlets is a great idea. Making sure that the child gets some outdoor time and regular exercise will help. Through arts and crafts, help the child create lists of what we can be grateful for, or make cards to send to friends and family members. It also helps to make family activities and outings.

Artistic supplies - markers, pencils, crayons
Talking to Children About Loneliness and Helping Them Cope