Kids haven’t been out in a year and we have to help them cope so they don’t get Cabin Fever!
With the Delta Variant out rampaging and kids still waiting for their vaccinations, it’s been a stressful year for them. They don’t get to see their friends, see only the same wall every day, play the same games every day, and don’t very much at home especially with it raining cats and dogs. Although kids might not tell you (because they can tell when you’re burned out and stressed), there are some ways we can help kids cope with the pandemic.
1. Active Listening
Active Listening is a technique used by most therapists, psychologists, and teachers to make sure their patients feel that they’re being listened to. Especially for kids, we want to make sure we hear their complaints, things that are stressing them out, etc. While we might be quick to say, “it’s going to be fine”, we need to hold that back because they’re clearly not okay. We need to respect their feelings of distress so that they won’t withdraw from you and all the more think that their home isn’t a safe space.
2. Let them game but not too much!
Even the WHO recognized video games as a possible way to cope with the pandemic! But letting them game the whole day’s not healthy either! They’ll end up buying glasses (or if they have, their lens grades will go up!) and there are some kids who get a little more cranky because they’ll believe that games are more fun than talking to other people. Besides, it’s rare that we have this much time to spend with them at home. Striking a healthy balance between screen time and talking to people helps them remember that the world’s still moving and they haven’t been left behind.
3. Introduce new activities to them
Especially during this rainy season, now’s the best time to introduce new activities. Like, if they didn’t learn cooking from school, then now’s a perfect time to teach them so they can learn some life skills. Having new activities also helps you and the family bond during the pandemic. It creates something that children can hold on to as an anchor so they feel that there’s something in their control instead of wondering why everything’s up in the air.
4. Start healthy habits
Healthy habits can range from sleeping early, arranging the clothes in the cabinet, or even walking around a few minutes a day can help your kids create a routine to soothe their anxiety. Kids have anxiety because everything’s constantly changing. They’re not sure when life will be normal again which is why creating a healthy habit allows them to feel a sense of control in a situation that’s highly unfamiliar and volatile.
5. Give them genuine hope
When we help kids cope, we want them to feel genuine hope. Managing expectations, especially in this pandemic can be hard especially when things are changing every day and we’re not sure what will happen next. Instead of us saying, “you’ll be fine”, we can open the floor for discussion as to what we can do to help them feel okay and feel real hope during the pandemic.
6. Ask for help
Sometimes, we take on everything ourselves because we’re the parents. We try to be strong for our kids because we don’t want to demoralize them with the pandemic the way it is. That’s why it’s okay to ask for help when we feel burned out. Whether it’s to have a DadBud or a Momtribe, it’s always good to have other moms and dads offer you a fresh perspective in understanding your kids’ attempt to cope especially during a dreary time like this.
We can help our kids cope together!
“Seeing their parents stressed, frustrated, and mentally exhausted from the effects of the pandemic only fuels their worry and fears,” says Anna Josefina Vazquez-Genuino, MD, Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist from MakatiMed‘s Psychiatry Ward.
Coping with something as collectively traumatic as the pandemic is a family effort. Although there will be fights and arguments, it’s something that can still be processed and settled. Especially when everything seems to be too much, it’s also good to seek professional help. That way, you and your kids won’t feel alone in dealing with the pandemic. We’re all here for you, moms and dads!
If you need to set an appointment with Makati Med, you can check their website at www.makatimed.net.ph or call them at +632.8888 8999.
Need more mental health articles? Check it out here!
Working Parents: “It’s okay to feel burned out.”
Love yourself and the rest will follow: Let dancer-mom Siya Daryani inspire your healing and self-care journey
Modern Parenting Pandemic Survival Guide: How To Make It Through GCQ And Beyond