You worry about how the current events are affecting your child.
As a parent with school-aged children, you can’t pretend for the sake of your child that everything is business as usual. Their entire daily routine changed overnight with no date in sight for it to resume. Upset norms naturally trigger a sense of anxiety in all of us.
You’ve considered creating a structured routine at home that keeps them busy every minute of the day. After all, you want to make the most of this unexpected gift of time together and you want to keep them away from the TV and the internet. And a busy mind leaves less room for fear and worry, right?
No matter how busy or engaged your child is with activities, their anxiety won’t disappear. It just won’t be addressed.
Our children know something is happening.
Kids are smart and resourceful. They’re listening to everything going on around us, and they can feel the stress or tension coming from the adults in their lives.
Chances are, your child has never experienced anything like this. Never has school been closed this long. Never has their parent or parents worked from home before. Never have they heard the term “distance learning” until recently. Your child will know these events point to something unprecedented in our lives.
How will you know if this is affecting your child’s mental health negatively?
The surest way to know that your child is feeling the anxiety of the situation is by monitoring their behavior.
You may have already noticed a change in behavior. For some children, this includes acting out in anger. For others, it may be a quiet withdrawal from activities, family time, or conversation. The youngest members of your family may convey their stress with an increase in meltdowns and tantrums.
Changes to look for are more than the expected complaints and protests that come with any change in routine. It’s more than the upset that you can’t take your child to their favorite restaurant or recreational activity.
It’s completely normal and expected for your child to feel stressed and to express that in ways such as these.
What do you do when you see that your child exhibiting anxiety about current events?
Your role hasn’t changed—you are their parent, their comfort, their safe space in troubling times. Give them extra grace, comfort, and love. Let them feel the sentiment that everything is going to be okay pouring from you as you care for them.
A few ways to make that happen:
- Bake something yummy together.
- Play a board game.
- Watch their favorite show or introduce them to a new movie
- Play or work outside
- Participate in virtual activities with other kids
Or do none of these things and spend more time snuggling. Play pretend with them and let them lead the way. Read a book. Tear up that schedule that keeps them occupied all day. Spend the day together doing nothing in particular.
If they need a break from distance-learning, take a break. School will still be there. Don’t make it a battle. School, activities, and a schedule are less important right now.
Approach everything with the idea that it’s more important to be there for your child than it is that they use this time to be tiny but productive humans. It’s more vital to have happy, healthy children who know that while the world may have been turned on its head, they’re still safe, loved, and cared for by you.
Try to give yourself some grace, too. Take a few minutes as you can to collect yourself and let yourself feel whatever it is you’re feeling.
Here at Must Love Kids, we hope you and your family are well. Please let us know if we can help. We’re here for emergency dental treatment.