We can easily overlook the impact COVID-19 has had on children (in our homes and around us). One of the best ways to help children manage these changes is empowering them with the knowledge and confidence to adjust to the new normal.
This could take the form of:
• Keeping an eye out for any changes in behaviour that may indicate your child is feeling stressed and/or overwhelmed. Just like no two adults are the same, similarly, no two children’s responses to stress are the same. Encourage open conversations with your child. This will provide a platform for you to answer your child’s concerns, and arm them with accurate information about the pandemic that may help give them comfort because they’re able to protect themselves and those around them.
• Limiting your child’s exposure to news coverage around the pandemic, thereby controlling how information is filtered to your child, as well as helping them deal with new developments. Children may interpret information differently and this may cause anxiety, fear or stress about something they may not fully understand.
• Keeping up with healthy daily routines, even when children are on holiday. This way you can mould healthy lifestyles which support their health and development.
• Looking after your own health and mental wellbeing. Children look to you for guidance. For them to adopt a healthy lifestyle, you would need to do the same. Be kind to yourself, take breaks, get a good night’s rest, aim to exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet.
• Spending time with your child in meaningful activities, as this would help create the safe space they need to communicate their feelings with you.
Being aware of how you are feeling and knowing what you can do to look after your mental wellbeing is an important part of staying healthy during this challenging time. Remember, we are all in this together.