It is not supposed to be normal, but now, it is a regular thing. We are in lockdown, and we have to self-soothe. Everyone is experiencing all sorts of pain, and the emotional kind is tough to ignore. Young kids and teenagers follow what they see from adults. So if a parent will react accordingly about the COVID-19 pandemic, then, the children will also be calm.
Who supports us, parents, in this time of need? If you have a spouse or loved one, you should get that support from him or her. For some, this is not possible. You will have to take care of yourself or ask for help from a mental health specialist.
As parents, we can do this. We have to do this for the sake of our children. They need us, and we have to support them during this trying time. We need to reassure them that everything will go back to normal, but at this time, it is better to be prepared.
Teach them about the importance and the necessity of social distancing. They have to practice that. Kids must also understand that wearing a mask is the new normal and that washing the hands and arms are part of the house rules now.
Your child may experience behavioral changes, and you need to be alert on this. Here are some signs that your kid is stressed:
- Crying all the time
- Always irritated
- Going back to behaviors that they have outgrown like bedwetting
- Extreme sadness
- Intense fear or worried reaction
- Teens who are “rebellious” or “acting out.”
- Low focus and concentration
- Not doing the things they previously loved doing.
- Body aches and headaches without reason
- Learning to use alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs
How can you help and support your child?
- You need to talk to your child or children about this virus. Explain to them what is happening and be prepared to answer their questions. You must provide the facts and, of course, teach them the preventive measures.
- Reassurance is one way of keeping your home stress-free. You have to tell your kids that, in time, everything will be back to normal. Tell them that you are all safe at home by following the “stay home” policy.
- Talk to them that you are also feeling a bit stressed, but that you are coping. Teach them ways to cope and that you can deal together. You can find natural ways to cope with stress right here.
- Watch the news without the kids. Go to your room and watch all about COVID-19 in there. You can also regulate their use of the internet so that they won’t visit sites that can overwhelm them about the pandemic situation right now. Kids may misinterpret what they hear from the news, and without you explaining (or sugarcoating) it to them, they might get terrified. We do not want this right now.
- You have to create a schedule at home with your kids, especially if they have an online school, and you have work from home duties. Routine can also lessen the stress brought about by COVID-19.
- Be your child’s role model and let them see that you are taking a break from work, sleeping right, eating well, and exercising. Ask them to join you, if possible. Create fun activities together like family board games, videoke, Netflix movie night, gardening, cooking, baking, dancing, and more.
Show to your kids that now is the time to stick together. The only way to cope with mental health issues during this lockdown is by standing by each other. Tell your children that they can always vent to you or talk to you when they need a moment. And you should be able to give it. I know it is a tough thing to do now, but nobody else can do it best for your kids – it can only be you. Again, if you have a mental health issue yourself and cannot address this adequately, enlist the help of an online mental health specialist.
Otherwise, stay safe. God bless. Tough times do not last. But tough people do. And we can be tough.