The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on everyone. Because of imposed lockdowns and business closures, many adults have gone through a series of crises relating to their jobs or careers. There was a fear of massive layoff. There was grief all around. But the toll of the pandemic was not exclusively felt by adults.
Children suffered from the changes brought about by the pandemic too. Most of them were sent home in the middle of the school year. Most of them had to do things differently from what they were accustomed to. For instance, no more sleepovers or weekend hangout with friends. No more visiting grandma and grandpa. It is not surprising that these abrupt lifestyle alterations proved detrimental to their emotional and psychological health.
Before the pandemic hit, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention had already published data regarding the rise of anxiety and depression among children between the ages of six and 17. This was exacerbated by the pandemic, which required everyone to self-isolate.
In Spain and Italy, for instance, 86% of surveyed parents reported changes in the behavior of their children, as a result of the lockdowns. These changes include spending more time sleeping, among others.
The unfortunate part is, the pandemic’s far from over. We can still expect intermittent lockdowns and restrictions in the coming days, up until a vaccine has been administered to the rest of the population. And with that in mind, we have to be more attuned to how our children are coping with the situation. Here are some ways we can help them.
As early as the 19th century, music has been employed to provide emotional relief. Upon the culmination of World War II, music’s healing effect as a subject of medical study gained traction. Eventually, it was further legitimized by the establishment of the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA).
There are two ways you can introduce your child to music therapy. One way is by encouraging them to listen to music that lifts their spirits and reduces their stress level. It does not matter if it’s rock or classical, so long as it does the job it is meant to do.
Another way is to encourage your child to play an instrument. For example, placing a drum set in your house’s spare room could relieve your son’s anxiety and aggression. You can take music therapy to the next level by enrolling your child at a music school.
If your children like creating beautiful stuff, you can support them by introducing art therapy into your house. Here you have a variety of options, including sculpting, scrapbooking, painting, and knitting, among others.
The idea is to keep your children busy with a tactile activity. And to keep them away from their smartphones for a while. Remember that doomscrolling is a thing you must fight against for the sake of your children’s mental health.
You should maintain a sort of routine in the household. Just because you are working remotely and your children are attending online classes does not mean your home should be spared from schedules.
The last thing you want to happen is for the rules in the house to become so lax that your children miss meal times because they are busy with online games. A routine provides a sense of structure. And that’s crucial to reducing stress and anxiety.
Do not wait for your children to ask for help with school work. Maximize this study-from-home opportunity to guide your kids on their learning habits. Your kids may be adept with computers and technology but online classes might still be challenging for them. So offer your support in any way you can. It can be as simple as reading your daughter’s essay to double-check for typos before they hit submit.
In any household, the lines of communication should always be open. That is most crucial during challenging times, such as during a global health scare. Mealtime conversations should be a staple in your home. But learn to listen more.
Children typically wear a mask of indifference toward the concerns of adults. This could be due to a variety of reasons. They could simply be introverts. Or they might be trying to spare you the trouble, knowing you have a lot on your plate already. No matter the reason, you should not allow this mask to mislead you. Always be on your toes, sensitive to signs that might reveal that your child is suffering. After all, no one can help them better than you.