There is no escaping that COVID 19 is having a huge impact on our lives right now. No matter where or who you are on this earth, it will continue to have a long term effect on us and our society in the foreseeable future. How we react to this plays an important role in our physical, spiritual and mental health.
What do we need to do and continue to do in this continued period of distancing?
- Take Control Your Own Anxiety
These are uncertain times and anxiety is triggered. Anxiety is also “contagious.”. Parents need to be reminded that kids pick things up from them even if they do not want to acknowledge or hear this. So, how do you keep your sanity, despite your own anxiety ?
First of all remember that we can’t fully control what happens but we can control our reaction. This cannot be overstated. Give yourself some space to just even breathe.
- Arm yourself with fact based, helpful information on the virus from a trusted, reliable, credible source. Stay up to date with notices from the right official and right authorities. Avoid endless fear mongering and miss information on social media streams, which can fuel your concerns. Anxiety is best contained if you know the guidelines. We should go back to basic of common sense and good hygiene
- Have a support team that you can talk to. This could be your partner, a parent, a friend, a spiritual leader, or another trusted confidant.
- Take care of your physical health. Get a good amount of sleep and exercise and use other ways to reduce anxiety, such as meditation, yoga, listening to music, or watching a TV show.
- If your child asks if you are worried, be honest! They will know if you are not telling them the truth. A suggested response idea would be something like “Yes, I’m worried about the virus, but I know that there are ways to prevent its spread and take care of the family if one of us gets sick.”
- Approach Your Kids and Ask What They Know
Most children will have heard about COVID-19, particularly school-age kids and adolescents. They may have read things online, seen something on TV, or heard friends or teachers talk about the illness. Others may have overheard you talking about it. There is a lot of misinformation out there, so don’t assume that they know specifics about the situation or that the information they have is correct. Ask open ended questions:
- What have you heard about the Corona virus?
- Where did you hear about it?
- What are your concerns or worries?
- Do you have any questions that I can help answer?
- How are you feeling about the Corona virus?
Once you know what information they have and what they’re concerned about, then you are able to help fill in any gaps when needed.
- Validate Their Feelings and Concerns
Kids may have all sorts of reactions to the COVID-19. Some may be realistic, while others exaggerated. Explain to them in a gentle, reasonable, age , appropriate manner. This in turn would provide them some needed level of comfort and assurance.
- Be Available for Questions and Provide New Information
This outbreak is likely to last for a while, , so one conversation won’t be enough. At first, your child’s emotional reactions will outweigh their thoughts and concerns. As the outbreak continues and your kids get new information, they will need to talk again. Let them know they can come to you at any time with questions or worries. It’s also a good idea to have regular check ins, as they may not approach you with their fears.
When you update your kids with new information, don’t assume that they fully understand everything you say. Ask them to explain things back to you in their own language. This is an excellent way to know if your kids understood what you meant.
- Empower Them by Modeling Behavior
An important part of prevention is hand washing, coughing or sneezing into your sleeves, wiping your nose with tissue then discarding it, trying to keep your hands away from your face, not shaking hands or making physical contact with others, and wiping surfaces with material that is at least 60% alcohol.
When you see your kids practicing good hygiene praise them for it! Reinforce that they are not only taking care of themselves, but also helping to prevent the spread of germs to others.
- Don’t Blame Others , it is time to look at how we can help and be support of each other.In stressful times, when we feel helpless, there’s a tendency to blame someone else. It is the idea of division ,US and between THEM. We are not here to do that.
- Perhaps time to focus on the needy in the community. Get the children involved in the community give back efforts. Encourage efforts to be of service in the children. That can develop in them a sense of gratitude and lessen the worries knowing they are part of something bigger than themselves.
Kids and parents are missing some huge milestones , events, celebrations; religious or otherwise and we have to figure out and adjust to different ways to celebrate each other and life.
Those are just some of the ways you can build that emotional support for yourself and the kids thru this trying times. Let us know what other ways can do this for the kids? Would love to hear your thoughts on it. Wishing to all celebrating and in the spirit of #Onelove, Wishing all love, peace, love and Ramadan Mubarak, Stay love and stay blessed.
Photo courtesy of Andres Chaparro from Pexels