All of a sudden, life as we know it has changed. I think this is the start of week 4, of our social isolation and quarantine, because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
My children are out of school, our medical practice has transitioned to telemedicine, and I can no longer leisurely enjoy a trip to the grocery store. We miss seeing our friends, our neighbors and our family members. This pandemic has affected every single person, all in different ways and at different levels. Many of us are now facing financial stress from loss of income, stress from adapting to working from home and helping our kids complete school online.
No doubt that all of this will have an effect on many individual’s mental health. Lack of social interaction can cause anxiety, fear, worry, depression, and isolation, just to name a few. And what about our children? My daughter asks daily about her friends, and when she can return to see her teachers at her school, and she is only in preschool. My son at first was thrilled at the idea of missing a few more weeks of school after enjoying a relaxing spring break, but is now also wondering when this will all be over.
Please, in the midst of all of the home schooling, and sibling drama, check in on your children individually. Check in with yourself, and your spouse as well. We really can’t fully appreciate how all of this is affecting our little ones if we don’t specifically set aside time and talk about their worries and their fears. Is your little one suddenly having a hard time falling asleep? What about a lack of appetite? If you notice they are starting to withdraw from family activities, please take this seriously and intervene.
You don’t have to have a psychology degree- or to have all the answers to their questions.
But their little voices do need to be heard. Their opinion, their worries, they do need to be validated. And now as the family unit is in the closest quarters we’ve been in a while (or ever!), taking care of our children’s emotional health can take full priority.
Sitting down, one on one, and just listening, is a great first step. Ask them what it is that is on their mind. They may have valid concerns, or just silly questions. EIther way, just by listening to their thoughts and reactions, they are being heard. They want to know that they are important to us and that we have a plan in place to keep them safe. They may not want to know specifics, but they are interested in current changes and want to feel that the changes are for them, not against them.
Be honest, and tell the truth! Keep it simple, but don’t try to hide the facts. Your children will benefit from having a truthful and honest conversation about the gravity of our current situation.
Try to make the most of this time, as difficult as it may be! And know that you too are not alone, I, along with many other parents feel your struggle- two small children at home and 36 weeks pregnant to add to all the chaos! I’ve had to change my focus onto my kids, and my husband, while trying to maintain some normalcy and routine! It’s our responsibility to raise informed, healthy, and stable children. Pure intention, honesty and constant communication are all key aspects in keeping in tune with our children, and our family.
When our kids look back on this pandemic in 10 years, , they most likely won’t remember all the media and fear of the virus- but they will remember what it was like. We too must lead by example, and practice healthy lifestyles and behavior. Get out in nature, keep a routine as much as possible, eat healthy, exercise, & physical distance but don’t socially isolate- use zoom, google hangouts, or facetime to stay in touch with friends & family! We are all in this together, and apart (together!) we will get through this!
COVID19 Resources for kids: