Giving back, being grateful can help kids feel better during the coronavirus pandemic

Girl with colored picture to thank healthcare heroes at SSM Health

MADISON, Wis. — Many kids are getting anxious and bored stuck at home, but teaching them to give back can boost their moods.

Dr. Kathleen Hipke, a psychologist with SSM Health, said being kind and grateful is something you’re more likely to carry with you for the rest of your life if you learn the importance as a child.

She said now is a great time for parents to model that behavior by giving back. It will benefit children both physically and mentally.

“It helps us feel connected to a larger purpose, and we all need sort of a sense of meaning about what we do and that it matters. It puts us in relationship to other people which is really helpful, and interestingly it actually helps us live longer,” said Hipke.

She’s encouraging families to get creative, suggesting kids reach out to someone who is isolated during the pandemic, such as writing letters or drawing pictures for the elderly. Families can cook for those in need or read to a lonely family member virtually.

SSM Health has created coloring pages for children to be able to thank healthcare workers fighting on the front lines.

To print out a teddy bear coloring page for your child to color, click here.

Children can mail them to the following address where the pages will be distributed to caregivers and displayed in area hospitals:

SSM Health

Care of: Communications Team

1802 West Beltline Highway

Madison, WI 53713