How Can I Support My Stressed Out Child with Covid?
Be clear about what is going on
Our children and young people want to know and feel that we as parents or carers are doing everything within our power to keep them safe. It’s how the develop the nurturing side of their personalities. Being heard supports this but also age appropriate conversations that are clear about what exactly is going on will help support them and help them feel secure within their home. Please don’t depend on your Facebook feed to give you reliable information about the current pandemic. Use reliable sources such as the NHS coronavirus advice site or the actual government guidelines that are regularly updated and do cover a lot more than any other online source. We haven’t got all of the answers that our children or young people present to us and sometimes lying to them will only make the situation in their minds more stressed from the confusion. If you don’t know sorting and you can’t find the answer then just listening to your child or young person will help them feel supported.
Should I limit the news and conversations about coronavirus around my child or young person?
Age dependant I think it’s really important to not overwhelm our children with the reminder of the virus. If it’s out of their control then do they really need a daily reminder that it’s still there? Sometimes I will say things like “Enjoy your time off and If anything changes I will make sure you’re the first to know”. I think this helps with younger children but for young people who have access to their own social media or the news it can be a little be tricky to stop feeds of false information coming through, all you can do is use your active listening skills to reassure your children or young person so that they feel secure and safe.
Keep Contact Open And Regular
If you’re back in work or have time apart from your children or if like me your children disappear to their room without a trace ( teenagers! ) then it’s really important that you keep regular contact with them so ensure they feel secure. Open communication with your children or young people about any arrangements that you have made including work commitments even when working at home will support their wellbeing and ensure they understand your routine and also the boundaries when communicating if you’re out of the house in work.
Routines Have Changed And That’s Ok
Routines create feelings of being safe for children and young people, even with us adults a secure routine can make us feel secure with what’s coming. The fear of the unknown can cause procrastination especially in the minds of children and young people. Have you developed a new routine during this pandemic? Having a routine even if it’s a agenda of that day and you include what time breakfast, lunch and tea in or what time your family walk is. Routines also include the time you have work commitments and when children or young people are expected to do the school work set. Ask teachers what you can do to support a home routine for education but don’t overwhelm yourself , your children or young person.
Move Around And Get Active
Staying indoors can be challenging when children and young people need to be active for at least 60 minutes a day. Plan time outside to go on family walks but being realistic getting my teenagers out for a family walk has been tough! If you can think of games to play with younger children in the garden or safely around the home then great! You can access so many exercise classes now online both for adults and children. I’ve started counting my own steps to help ensure that I’m moving around the house as much as I can because it’s become far to easy to sit and watch a film with a hot cup of tea several times a day.
This doesn’t mean dieting in anyway. I know how tempting to settle a toddler with a pack of buttons or a teenager with snacks and fizzy pop but being mindful about what our children and young people eat is really important right now because it will be released into their moods. If we allow our children and young people to binge no so healthy foods then they’re going to develop habits of binging and become addicted to the amount of sweet level. Having a routine for meals during your day is a great way on monitoring when everyone is eating , what they’re eating and it’s extra time to have that family time. I don’t know about you but my children haven’t stopped eating so I had to replace non healthy treats with more healthier options to ensure their health.
Sleep Is key
Children and young people need sleep even they don’t like to admit it and do everything within their power to stay up later or to get up super early. Developing a new routine for sleep is really important and won’t be the easiest thing on your list but it’s something that you need to identify. Will your child or young person be able to keep the routine they’re developing when school begins or when they get that call for the job they applied for? It might be the easier option to let the day flow and allow children to fall asleep when they drift off but it’s not the healthy option in anyway. Children need routine and young people need to understand how important a set routine is going to be for their future, this routine must include sleep.
Check In With You
During everything that is going on around us we have to ensure that to take care of our children and young people we need to be able to identifying when we need time out or we need to go on a quiet walk on our own if it’s safe to do so. Checking in on how we’re feeling will not only allow us to positively approach any challenges our children to young people bring but it will bring a sense of calmness and confidence as a parent or a carer which again subconsciously creates a sense of safety for our children and young people. You can offer more support if you’ve prepped your mind and fuelled your body because you’re cup is full but if you don’t take care of yourself you’ll become more irritated and sometimes the littlest thing can cause you stress which then flows to those around you. If you need stress management support please don’t hesitate to fill in the contact us form on the website for our counsellor to contact you directly to arrange support.