Promote Kids Emotional Wellness During COVID
Now is a good time to take a metaphorical temperature reading on your children. How are you all?
By Whitney C. Harris
5th June 2020
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As distance learning wears off and we begin a summer like never before, families prepare for even more transitions. New York is slowly starting to open again and the parents are preparing to spin again. It’s a good time to take a metaphorical temperature reading on your children. How are you all? Even if you think your kids are not stressed or badly affected by the quarantine and worries of COVID-19, it is a good time to step up your parenting game when it comes to promoting emotional wellbeing. There are some important guidelines from the CDC on how to help children during COVID. But there is more we can do to meet children’s emotional needs. Here are 7 easy ways to promote child wellbeing.
Give your child additional support.
Your unconditional love will be sustained by giving unconditional assistance now. Stop by your kids every few days or at least once a week and remind them that part of your job as a parent is answering all of their questions and providing support, says psychologist, author and spokesperson Dr. Nekeshia Hammond. This conversation can take different forms depending on the ages of your children, but the message should be the same: love, empathy, understanding, and helpfulness. And that applies to everything from cumbersome anger and sadness to homework frustration and friendship drama that unfolds virtually. Parents can also exemplify good and effective coping strategies, says clinical psychologist Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen. Speak openly and calmly about your own fears or problems and your children will adapt better in times of crisis.
Now is the time to teach your child a new skill, like riding a bike or swinging a baseball bat. Spend a lot of time dancing and singing around the house. Or you would like to introduce your children to yoga. “Encourage them to take part in activities that bring them joy, reduce their stress levels, and increase their positive self-esteem,” suggests Hammond.
The activities at home are potentially endless. Hammond suggests asking younger children what they might enjoy. They can suggest science experiments using household items or a scavenger hunt in the home or garden. “Most children miss their friends, so it is very important right now to find activities where they can interact socially,” she adds. In addition, this length of isolation can mean that some children are not touched, says Thiessen. To remedy this, he recommends activities such as drawing, painting, sculpting with clay, making music, and anything that tactilely stimulates the senses.
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Meditating or coloring are some great ways to be present with one another and enjoy each other’s company without having to say or do a lot, says Hammond. And they’re great for supporting mental health and wellbeing.
As New York reopens, your kids may have questions or wonder how life will change again. They might even express some fear of re-entering public spaces and social environments, or fear of people wearing masks. To forestall any worries, parents can provide information and tell exactly what you will be doing outside the home and how you will be smart to stay healthy. Hammond recommends making it short and straightforward: “When we leave the house, we wear our mask and hand sanitizer.”
Whether you are staying near your home or walking slowly and safely out, playing with your children remains of the utmost importance. And playing outdoors is especially important when it comes to emotional development, self-esteem, and physical wellbeing. As pointed out by the International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) and its Voice of Play initiative, the benefits of gaming are far-reaching, especially in times of increased stress or upheaval.
Are you wondering if your child is struggling too much? Feeling sad, anxious, worried, or insecure at the moment is completely normal for children and adults. But if your child has trouble sleeping and eating, is experiencing dramatic mood swings, or suggests wanting to harm himself or others, you should probably see a psychologist, Hammond says. Here you can find a psychotherapist in your area. Fortunately, most of them currently offer telemedicine services.
“Children have to grow up with the ability to be careful without becoming completely risk averse and obsessive,” adds Thiessen. “There are reasonable practices we can follow that reduce the chances of a grandpa or grandma getting it, and children need to know how to participate in practices that protect the most vulnerable among us.”