by me yesterday was on how parents can help children during the COVID 19 lockdown with special emphasis on mental well being. The audio clipping once edited and aired will be shared.
1. Play – children regulate emotions through free play. Allow for a lot of time for instruction free, gadget free play. Play helps children make meaning of their experience.
2. Never lie about outcomes – dont exaggerate or underplay information about the COVID 19 outbreak. This will lead to a lack of trust similar to how children who are lied to about school have a harder time adjusting in school and trusting their parents and teachers. Tell them what you know to the best of your knowledge and if you need to, please look for credible information together through various sources. This helps you bond while busting myths together.
3. MODEL dont catastrophize – dont stay glued to the news and expect to stay calm or model calmness. As a family take news updates once a day but spend the rest of the day in meaningful activities together and alone. Model the need for coming together and also for respecting each others space. These lead to healthier relationships over time.
4. Show them positive stories of people helping each other too. Focus on the right things often helps in regulation. In the three R’s model we use as therapists the first R is regulate, the second R is relate and the third R is reason. Build your relationship before you expect to reason with your child.
5. LISTEN when children speak. Do not rush to downplay what they are expressing and dont rush to offer solutions. Many times they share because it helps them feel better and access their own understanding. Your adult like explanations may complicate the situation. Keep it simple. Often just building a safe bond with love and trust helps them find the reason they need and helps regulate their emotions.
6. Focus on the present. Fear and anxiety are often from the future and the need to control outcomes. An optimal level of these states helps us as humans to stay responsible and choose better options for our actions. Dont ask your child not to feel these emotions. By helping them focus on the present moment and what they can actually do in the here and now helps them take clear steps and bounce back every time they feel overwhelmed by fear.
7. There are no quick fixes and no one honestly knows what is instore. Keep it real
Dont divert, entertain, distract or falsely calm down people with pseudo science.
Do share if this resonates with you.