02. Experts Corner

Boosting Your Child's Emotional Wellbeing During COVID-19

May 21, 2021

COVID-19 has affected various aspects of our lives, including economic, psychological, and emotional health. Most people, especially males, may have developed conditions leading to a loss of confidence and motivation due to retrenchment, uncertainty, and fear of the virus. Their struggles and concerns may be related to protecting their assets and businesses, work, and personal relationships during this pandemic. But we should keep in mind that children are not exempted from the stress and anxiety caused by COVID-19.

Although they only have trivial knowledge of what’s happening globally, children may be affected by changes and troubles in the household. As such parents should be aware of these emotional strains and address them to prevent adverse effects on their mental and physical health. Here are lots of everyday ways you can boost you child's wellness.

10 Tips for Supporting Your Child’s Wellbeing

1. Recognize Emotions

The first step in supporting your child is by recognizing and acknowledging their emotions. Know that they are undergoing stress like you, and they may handle it differently.

During the pandemic, children may feel anxious about what will happen the next day or worried that their family might get infected with COVID.

There are also instances when kids may feel frustrated and sad that they suddenly cannot do activities they used to enjoy, like hanging out with their friends and seeing them face-to-face or going on family trips.

It is vital to assure them that what they feel is normal and that it is okay to talk about it.

2. Set Media Consumption Limits

Being aware of what’s happening around you is good. But too much consumption of news and information about a traumatic event can induce anxiety, especially in children.

In addition to this, their social media consumption may also affect their state of mind regarding the current situation and add to their emotional stress.

Plan activities that involve the whole family. These activities may be done in your backyard or inside your home.

3. Build New Routines

Having a routine may help your children have a better sense of normalcy in their everyday lives. You can retain some of the activities your child enjoys before COVID or incorporate new and creative leisure activities.

These recreations should encourage your kids to participate and be involved in your daily activities as a family.

Introducing new routines at home may soothe their anxieties about the unknown future.

4. Practice Compassion

Everyone is having a difficult time this pandemic, even you, the parents. Help your children understand the importance of sympathy and sensitivity to other people’s feelings.

Be a role model and start by conveying kindness and patience towards your family. A simple text, video call, or compliment can provide comfort and support that your children and family may need.

5. Stay Healthy

Knowing that your child is healthy is one way of easing your anxiety and your kids’. Help them understand that eating healthy and taking vitamins can keep the virus away.

Motivate them to exercise and move around the house to boost their mood and strengthen their body.

6. Implement Positive Discipline

When your kid is acting out their frustrations and stress, try to find other avenues that will keep them busy. Some children act out because they are bored and weary. Encourage them to do creative play by drawing, painting, or making a fort.

Redirect their attention by establishing a simple reward system to reinforce good behavior. Set time-outs to stop them from having tantrums.

7. Pay Attention to Them

Listening to your kids is the first step to understanding them. Make a safe space for your child to express their emotions and thoughts. Make them feel that their feelings are valid and that you relate to them.

Encourage them to speak out and ask questions that are confusing them about this pandemic. Being attentive parents may help them feel secure.

Give them opportunities to talk about their concerns and try to address these issues accordingly.

8. Discuss Their Fears

It is normal for children to be curious and ask questions about what they hear in the news. Try to answer them as honestly as possible.

You can tell them that people are getting sick, but assure them that following the guidelines of frequent hand-washing and staying at home can help them stay healthy.

9. Console Them

Make your children feel supported by comforting them and calming them down.

You can also bring them comfort by spending time with them, and doing activities like:

● Telling them happy stories

● Joining them in doing what interests them

● Assigning them simple household tasks, like cooking and cleaning

● Playing with them

Commending them as much as possible for their strengths, helpfulness, and compassion may also bring them comfort during this stressful time.  

10. Reassure Them

It would be best if you assure your child that they are safe. Give them information that can make them feel safe and secure.

Convince your children that you will do everything to keep them healthy. Feed them positive thoughts and plans that they can look forward to in the future.

Recognizing Distress Among Children

Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels

Even though you are spending more time with your children during this pandemic, be extra observant about their behavior.

Children have their way of expressing distress and anxiety. Be mindful of the following behavior in your children:

1. Separation Anxiety

Children may express anxiety by being too clingy and withdrawn from other people and activities. Their reluctance to explore may be a result of fear and worry.

2. Irritability and Tantrums

Kids who are under a lot of stress tend to be more irritable and prone to tantrums. You may notice that they might get scared and cry more quickly, and it may be more challenging to make them stop.

3. Sleeplessness

Pay attention to their sleeping habits as well. They may tend to wake up in the middle of the night and have difficulty falling asleep again.

Potty-trained kids may regress to wetting their bed due to stress.

4. Aggression

Observe and take note of the themes in their play. It may involve death, violence, or illnesses due to what they think is happening during the pandemic.

For adolescents and older children, you may observe the following behaviors:

5. Mood Swings

There may be rapid changes in the mood of your teenage child due to their mixed and confusing emotions about the pandemic. These mood swings may manifest in the form of irritability, hopelessness, and anger.

6. Loss of Interest

Due to the uncertainty brought about by COVID, some kids may lose interest in hobbies they once found enjoyable. These interests may now become tedious and mundane for them. Some kids may even look for riskier activities.

7. Appetite Changes

Your children’s previously healthy eating patterns may change. Some may lose appetite, while some may stress eat and gain weight. These behaviors can be caused by stress and anxiety.

As you can see, the most important things are being aware of your child's behaviors and moods, then taking simple steps that can help them on a daily basis. The last, but not the most obvious thing, is to look after your own wellness - here is a useful blog to checkout.

7 Blogs to Boost Your Wellness

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