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Tips and Tricks for Kids Mental Health

- in collaboration with Dr. Vivien Lee

Navigating the changes from COVID-19

Many parents were suddenly thrust into the role of full-time educators with the closures of schools during COVID-19, not to mention entertainer, housekeeper, referee…on top of our regular work or other responsibilities! How on earth to manage if each day of schooling turns into big arguments with your child? #1 rule: relax your expectations. You are not going to get it all done and that’s okay. Focus on helping your child feel safe, provide opportunities for learning and creativity, physical activity, and play. 

 

Try to get your kids in a general routine or structure. I know, I know, easier said than done! Key word is general. For example: 

  • Wake and sleep at the same times 

  • Meals around the same times

  • Part of the day for learning or creativity (e.g., schooling, researching an interest of theirs and telling you about it, cooking skills, car maintenance, painting)

  • Part of the day for physical activity

  • Free play time (non-electronics)

  • Time together as family when possible

Reassuring your family about your safety at work

- in collaboration with Dr. Vivien Lee

Walk them through your day

You and/or your partner are continuing to work on the front lines. Your kids are worried about you and them getting sick. How can you reassure them that you’re taking all safety precautions possible? Walk them through each step in your workday so they can understand what you’re doing and how each step is thought to help. For example: how often you’re washing your hands or sanitizing at work; how your PPE works; each step when you get home. Having the ability to understand the why and how of your safety steps can help them see the proactive steps you’re taking to keep everyone as healthy as possible.

Creating Space While at Home

- in collaboration with Dr. Vivien Lee

Get creative! 

We all need some alone time for self-care and to decompress. This of course can be difficult when we’re stuck together at home all the time during the pandemic. It’s important for the family to come together to determine how and when each member will get their own time and space, including the kids. You may need to trade off times with your partner or an older child to watch the kids so that the other won’t be interrupted. “Alone” time can even be carved out in a small living space by creating a space and tuning out your surroundings (e.g., earphones, white noise app). 

 

There’s certainly been more stress and worry over the past few months with COVID-19. Did you know that our fight-flight-freeze response can be triggered just by a thought? There doesn’t have to be an active threat in front of us. In addition to increased physical tension, it can be more difficult to think completely logically. One way to slow down this physical and mental response is slow, deep breathing. When we breathe in and out slowly, our breath can trigger our body’s relaxation response, slowing down our stress response and helping us to refocus. One method: 

  • Place one hand on your belly

  • Breathe in for 4 counts through your belly – feel your belly button pressing out against your hand

  • Pause

  • Breathe out just as slowly for 4 counts – feel your belly button try to press down to your spine

  • Repeat for 10-20 breaths

Thriving & Connecting Amid COVID-19

- in collaboration with Dr. Vivien Lee

Find new ways to connect and have fun!

Humans are social animals (yes, even if you prefer alone time). We need social connection, particularly during stressful and uncertain times. Using video to connect can be uncomfortable for some people, but give it a try – technology really has come a long way. Being able to connect visually with the other person can foster a more connected experience. If video is really not your thing, try to keep connected via phone, group Whatsapp chats, and text messaging. We need each other to get through this strange time.

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