Given the current climate of the past several weeks, it is completely normal for your little ones to be acting out in unfamiliar ways. Kids absorb what is shared in conversation between adults, the news and other kids in the playground and this can be a very confusing time for them. Of course, our first priority is the physical health and safety of our children, but amongst the global pandemic uncertainty, their mental health and well-being are important to understand and nurture.
Bespoke Lifestyles has put together a guide on how to talk to your kids about the virus, and how to manage their anxiety through this time:
Assess what they know of the situation:
The best way to tackle your child’s needs is to familiarise yourself with their understanding of the situation at hand. They may be concerned about the health implications for not only themselves but their parents/grandparents and not entirely understand what it means to be sick, or why it is so important to isolate. Educating yourself on the current government and health expert advice will allow you to simplify your answers to your child so that you can break down the information in bite-size pieces for them. Generally, it will elevate some of their worries if this information comes from a parent, rather than them hearing about it second-hand in the schoolyard or in passing when the information could be wrong.
We’ve all heard the saying ‘monkey see, monkey do’, and in this crisis, it speaks volumes. Kids are highly intuitive and they will be able to sense that things are not the way they usually are based on the behaviours of those around them. While it is completely okay to not be okay as a parent during these unprecedented times, it is really important to maintain composure around children. By modelling calm and rational behaviours and emotions, your kids can have some of their anxieties relieved.
This is a big one for keeping the entire household functioning cohesively. By finding a new routine that includes elements of your pre-isolation lifestyle, your child may find themselves easing into the isolation period a bit easier, especially coming into the Easter school holidays. Finding time to break up the day and get outside to run around and catch some sun rays if you have the ability to do so, can do wonders for their mental health, allowing them to blow off some steam. You may find a boost in both moods and their sleeping by doing so.
Be an active listener:
Your child may withdraw if they feel as though you don’t have the time to listen to their worries. Asking probing questions to get them to open up to you will help you understand what the core of their anxiety is stemming from, as well as opening up a dialogue for them to come to you with. Listening to them without judgement or interruption may resolve the issues you’re facing quicker than if you try and problem solve without taking on board their concerns first.
Limit exposure to the news:
This is really important for both you and your child, as overconsumption of the news can be extremely overwhelming and conflicting. Picking 2-3 trustworthy news outlets, whether it be on the television, print media or online, will allow you to regain control over how much you’re being exposed to. This has a flow-on effect, as your monitoring of the news can allow you to distribute what’s important back to the rest of the family, leaving your child’s mind free to play, imagine and enjoy the extra time at home.
Here at Bespoke Lifestyles, we’re an NDIS provider, as well as a not-for-profit organisation. Our greatest passion is to improve the quality of life for people living with a disability. If you would like to hear more about our support options, reach out to us today.