The COVID-19 pandemic has caused massive disruptions in the lives of people. It has impacted livelihoods, jobs, businesses, education, relationships, and recreation. Most alarmingly, it has posed a threat to public health and taken away the lives of people.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seniors and individuals with underlying health conditions are vulnerable to the various novel coronavirus strains. Children are less prone to COVID-19 infection.
The pandemic, however, can negatively impact your children’s mental state. The virus threat, pandemic restrictions, and future uncertainties can take a toll on their mental health by causing fears and worries. These can further escalate to stress, psychological distress, anxiety, and depression.
As a parent, you should not only protect your children from the threat of coronavirus. Also, focus on promoting their overall well-being. Fret not, as we’ve rounded up some practical tips for you. Here’s how to foster your children’s mental health during this pandemic:
1. Educate your kids about the COVID-19 crisis
The COVID-19 crisis has been existing for almost two years now. At this point, you must have already educated your children about the pandemic. As a parent, you must have already explained the coronavirus threat to people’s health and lives. You must have already oriented your kids about its impact on the world and its personal implications. While the pandemic is here to stay, update your kids about what’s happening around the world so that they can protect themselves. As they say, knowledge is power.
2. Help your kids process their thoughts and emotions
It’s not enough that you educate your children about the crisis. Know that doing so isn’t to scare them. You don’t want to carve fears, worries, and uncertainties out of them. The purpose of educating your children is to help them acknowledge the pandemic. As a parent, you want to help them process their thoughts and emotions. By doing so, you’ll help them accept the inevitability and find ways to cope with the situation. Then and only then can your whole family rise above the pandemic.
3. Maintain constant communication with your kids
It’s crucial to ensure constant interaction and maintain regular communication with your children. That way, you know what’s in their minds and how they feel about the pandemic situations. When you understand these, you know how to address their negative ideas and emotions. That said, constantly remind your kids that the pandemic will end and that you’ll always be there for them. Also, assure them that your whole family will rise above the pandemic.
4. Make your family the support system
Before the pandemic, it was easy to see growing children and teens rely on their friends. They tend to consider their circle of friends as their support group. Whenever they have problems, they ask for help from their peers. But with or without a pandemic, the support system must begin at home. In fact, it’s all the more necessary for parents to ensure that their families are the backbone for their kids during this unprecedented time. In the end, you want to be there for your children all the time.
5. Regulate their digital consumption
It’s easy to see children hooked online using their mobile phones or computers. They probably spend most of their time surfing the net, playing mobile games, and browsing social media. It’s vital, however, to monitor, control, and even limit their digital consumption. Make sure they consume only positive content and avoid things detrimental to their mental state.
Also, allow them to accomplish something productive and enjoy their hobbies instead of being online all the time. Lastly, make sure they engage in physical activities that can be good for their physical and mental health.
6. Seek mental health professionals when necessary
As a parent, you are responsible for reinforcing and maintaining healthy routines at home. These include eating nutritious foods, drinking plenty of water, working out regularly, and getting enough sleep. Also, ensure your kids follow health and safety protocols like frequent hand-washing, hand-sanitizing, wearing masks, and maintaining social distances outdoors. But if they begin to manifest some health issues, take them to a trusted kid’s clinic. If they start to show signs of stress, anxiety, and depression, consult with mental health professionals and seek therapy.
At this point, you now know what it takes to foster your children’s mental health during this pandemic. Consider the practical tips recommended above, from educating your kids about the crisis to seeking mental health professionals. As a parent, you should be there for them now more than ever. Be sure to take good care of your kids during this unprecedented time. By doing so, you’ll be able to foster your children’s mental health and overall well-being.