Protecting Your Child’s Mental Health During the Pandemic
COVID-19 is taking a toll on everyone’s health and not just physical health but mental health too. Most conversations these days is about the pandemic, job loss, and stress in adults. However, we tend to exclude the mental health issues that kids and teenagers are battling during this period. The fact that most of them cannot attend school, cannot meet their friends, and do not have a social life might be taking a toll on their mental health.
The kids are spending their time in their rooms instead of classrooms, vacations, or playing with their friends. Despite being adults, at times, it might be difficult to comprehend the situation, and one can only imagine how difficult it might be for the little ones. The uncertainty changes that nobody talks about, and why there is panic everywhere are hard to comprehend. If you have a child at home, here’s how you could help them at the time of this pandemic and ensure their mental health is in perfect shape.
Handle Your Anxiety
Your children watch you and learn. More than the things you say, your actions impact the way your children think and feel. While it is natural for everyone to feel anxious in uncertain times, make sure your children do not see you have a mental breakdown. And even if they do, let them also understand how you cope with such feelings. Helping them understand how you handle your anxiety will let them come to terms with their feelings. They will understand how it is normal to worry and be anxious when things are not how they usually are.
However, what is important is to embrace reality and deal with the situation in a positive way. Talking to your child about how you deal with uncertain situations, will equip them with ways to deal with their anxiety. They will understand that they can share their feelings with you. This in itself takes away half the stress that a person experiences.
Provide Them the Information They Need
Help your child find all the information they need. Finding answers to the questions will reduce their worry. Sit down by their side and make sure they are learning information from the authentic sources. If they are worried about a news or a rumor they heard, clarify it from the reliable sources. This will reduce their sense of panic and help them get back on track. Having access to information is a great way to prevent anxiety attacks. And in this day and age of information overload, it is only easy to find all answers to questions that bother you.
Help Your Child Feel in Control
One of the major reasons for anxiety and panic attacks is because of experiencing a lack of control over situations and events. If you help your child identify the areas of life where they still have control and deal with them, it will help them find balance. For instance, you can help them understand how they could take care of themselves, precautions they could take to prevent the virus spread, and so on. Helping them be responsible for their safety and assuring them that you are by their side. It will give the child the confidence they need for dealing with the pandemic and the crisis.
You could also help your child develop a new routine around this changed post-pandemic life. It helps them embrace this as their new way as life as children thrive on routine. Talking to them and increasing the quality of family time will take your little one’s mind off the stressors and keep them happy. Remember that your child needs to stay mentally and physically healthy at all times. And when they feel in control of their life, they are more likely to be mentally healthy.
At this time of crisis, we are all we have. So, make sure you consciously increase your quality family time together. Talk to your little one about mental health issues and how it is normal to experience during a crisis. Tell your little one that they can count on you if they want to talk to someone. And take this opportunity to break the stigma around visiting a mental health professional. If they continue to have trouble processing issues during this pandemic period or otherwise, talk to them and help them get professional help.
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