Hi friends. This post comes after recent conversations with a couple parents who currently feel overwhelmed by the world at large. Raising young children has always been stressful for many, but these are unprecedented times.

Now that we’ve acknowledged the obvious, for those of you who are not ill or financially crippled at this time, perhaps you need to take a breather from the constant barrage of negative news. It can be a disservice to children (and ourselves) to constantly worry about problems that are beyond our control.

Ask yourself these questions:

Is your family healthy?

Do you have the means for a decent place to live and fresh food?

If you answer yes to these questions then you need to enjoy this time with your preschool children. They really do grow up so fast. Now is the time to build memories. It is also the time to give them a positive outlook on life.

It’s the simple pleasures that build skills, confidence, and happiness. What joys can you share with your child? Cooking together? Hiking? Playing in the park or backyard? Mudpies? Game night? Dancing to favorite songs?

As for the outside world. Can you limit your exposure by simply reading the news from a source you trust once a day and pick one or two positive ways to make the world a better place? To paraphrase Mr. Rogers, Become a helper.

Here are just a few of the ways I have seen young families contribute to their community and teach empathy and ethics to their children:

Contribute or deliver food for the local food bank

Set up home composting and gardening

Perform yard work for an elderly neighbor

Check in weekly on a lonely friend or neighbor

Volunteer for local groups, everything from - picking out books to donate to children who have few (and who better to pick then other children) - to joining nature clean-up workdays

Don’t over schedule, just pick something that works for your family. We can all grow strong communities slowly together. If you see and feel the beauty and friendship in the world your child will too. Let’s build the world we want for our children. Kindness starts at home.