Throughout the pandemic, it seems COVID-19 has not caused widespread infection among children & teens. Many people have understandably found some solace in this trend. “At least the children are being impacted,” we hear. Of course, this is good news but it’s also not accurate to say children are not being hurt by this virus. Children’s lives have been turned upside down. And unfortunately, unlike adults, they lack the resources to process such changes. The onus is on parents across the globe to help their children navigate this uncharted territory positively and productively. Child & Teen Counseling can help!
The Impact of COVID-19 on the Lives of Children
During the global health crisis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urge parents to be on the lookout for the following symptoms in their children:
- Excessive worry or sadness
- Unhealthy eating habits
- Unhealthy sleeping habits
- Difficulty with attention and concentration
It is important to note that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Children may have less of a chance of contracting COVID-19 but they are, however, dealing with dramatic changes, e.g.
- Disruptions in schooling
- Loss of social circles
- A decrease in physical activity
- Short- and long-term financial instability
- Food insecurity
Less specifically but perhaps most relevant is a possible decrease in their sense of safety and loss of confidence in adults. Depending on the examples set, role models around them, and attention to their needs, the pandemic could have changed everything. Even in their own homes, children may become the unwitting victims of an unsafe or unstable environment.
5 Ways Parents Can Help Their Children Deal with COVID-19 Changes
Regardless of your child’s age, it is essential to talk with them about what’s going on. Do so in a calm manner — avoiding the urge to blame others. Reassure them. Keep yourself available for follow-up chats. To follow are some further thoughts and ideas for this unprecedented time period:
1. Pick Your Battles When it Comes to Distance Learning
Stay involved and be available to help. But also, understand how disconcerting this experience is for your children. Find ways to compromise and be mindful of your urge to critique.
2. Cater Your Interactions Based on Age
Of course, this suggestion would hold during any time period but it’s now more important than ever. Your teenage child requires a different kind of balance of privacy and reassurance. Encourage them to talk with you about what they need.
3. Establish Routines
As much as kids and teens seem like free spirits, they usually thrive with some structure. The pandemic has removed a major chunk of this blueprint so it’s now your job. Through trial and error and plenty of conversations, you can find the right mix.
4. Enforce Tech Breaks
Everyone needs to put down their devices a few times a day. Step away from the non-stop and often contradictory updates. Use those breaks to do something together — ideally, something engaging and active.
5. Practice Self-Care
Our difficult journey into the third decade of the millennium is requiring parents to dig deep. You need to be strong and prepared. Therefore, it is a non-negotiable that you establish a self-care regimen. The basics include:
- Stress management and relaxation techniques
- Regular sleep patterns
- Healthy eating habits
- Daily exercise and activity
- Regular breaks from phones, TV, and computers
Don’t stop there. Reflect on personal aspects of self-care that speak to you uniquely and boost feelings of calm and contentment.
This is the Exact Right Time to Ask For Help
When people call these times “unprecedented,” it also means that none of us had yet developed the skills needs to manage it all. Even when mostly at home, you can rely on video chats to connect with a therapist. Your counselor will brainstorm with you, listen to you, advise you, and support you through the evolving range of challenges you face as a parent in 2020.
Raising children is a complicated task in the best of situations. Under our current circumstances, it is a self-loving and logical choice to reach out for the assistance you need. Please read more about parent coaching and reach out for a consultation when you are ready. Both you and your kids will benefit!
Getting Started With Teen Counseling in Lakewood & Longmont Colorado
We invite you to call us at 720-551-4553 for a free 20-minute phone consultation. You can schedule your appointment via phone, email, or the contact page on our website. We offer both in-person and online counseling. We’re open to whichever option you feel more comfortable with. We look forward to hearing from you!