Emotionally Supporting Children During COVID-19
During these unprecedented times, your child may be feeling increasingly fearful and anxious. It is important to ask your child, on a daily basis, how they are feeling. It is equally important to listen and validate them as they confide in you. As a parent, you have the opportunity to provide your child with emotional support. This blog post will focus on four different things that you can do to help your child cope during these trying times.
Declutter your space.
Our lives and routines have been flipped upside down. There is chaos all around us. This is not chaos that you, as a parent, have control over. What you do have control over, however, is the space in which you are now confined to. Bringing order and cleanliness to your home can have significant psychological benefits, particularly when you feel a lack of control and order in your life. For children, an orderly and clean space can be calming and predictable, something that they desperately need during these times. Start small, and make a roadmap of different areas in your home that you would like to declutter. Stick to the roadmap, as your child’s mental health depends on it.
Bring rhythm into your child’s routine.
Being confined to your home has most likely affected your child’s structured routine. During unpredictable times, such as these, having a predictable schedule can help reduce anxiety and fear, particularly with children. Set your alarm, and wake your child up at the same time during the workweek. Have a clear and concise schedule written somewhere in your home so that it is visible to both you and your child. Have it be almost identical during all five days of the workweek.
Despite adhering to a set routine, being home all day, and being restricted from seeing people or going places can make days feel very long. For a child, these long days can feel like an eternity. By mid-morning, you may already have a child who is exclaiming that they are bored. As a parent, you can welcome the boredom, and model to your child the benefits of being bored. For instance, boredom can lead to deep creativity. Once a child, or an adult for that matter, taps into their creativity, it can act as an antidote to anxiety and ultimately calm the fear response center of the brain.
We are inundated with the rapidly changing information related to COVID-19. As a parent, you can act as a filter, and only provide your child the information that is necessary, true, and will result in a sense of safety and security within your child. Any other forms of information that does not reflect the standards listed above does not need to be communicated to your child.
Your observant child may also be aware of your stress and anxiety, therefore, be kind to yourself. Limit your media and social media intake, by only checking the news up to twice a day, and only through reputable sites.
If your inquisitive child demands answers to some difficult virus-related questions, check out this CBC article for some tips!