Caring For Your Family's Mental Health
This is a challenging time for families. Situations that are unfamiliar and seem uncertain may produce feelings of fear and anxiety. Anxiety may cause us to “catastrophize” a situation, making the scariest outcome feel much more real than it is. It’s important to remember that much of the social distancing and changes to our daily lives are necessary to protect vulnerable populations such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. Most people, and especially children, will recover well without medical intervention.
Helpful Tips for Coping
- Balance exposure to news sources. A constant stream of news may reinforce “worst case scenario” thinking. Set limits. For example, “I will check the news twice a day.”
- Stay connected! Social distancing is important, but it may take a toll on mental health. Use apps to connect face to face digitally with friends, family, and teachers.
- Be kind to yourself. Parents have a tendency to to be their own worst critic. Setting a goal to do your best everyday is very reasonable. It’s a great goal for your child to set as well! If you find yourself feeling guilty about things like excess screen time, remind yourself that this time period is temporary.
- Exercise! Physical activity is wonderful for the body and the mind. Encourage the whole family to take a walk or play outdoor games.
- Creativity. The absence of school and activities has probably left your family with extra time. This would be a great time to re-visit old hobbies or find new ones!
- Encouragement can go along way. Have your child use sidewalk chalk or make signs with positive messages and artwork. This empowers your child to positively impact others in this time of social distancing.
Make a COVID-19 time capsule with your children!
There are resources online to guide you with this project. It can be as simple or complex as you you make it. This provides children with an opportunity to share how they feel, what they’re learning, what they’ve enjoyed, and what they’re looking forward to after this time period has ended. It may also allow children to discuss any worries they may have.
Older children may enjoy interviewing their parents as a part of the time capsule. Don’t forget to include artwork or pictures! This will create a nice keepsake for your child.