Although the coronavirus is still affecting the world, we are starting to see that the world has begun to open back up. Our lives went from being completely normal to being changed overnight. Businesses were shut down, schools were closed, parents were required to work from home while homeschooling their children, and so many other daily routines have been shifted. While there are some restrictions that are being lifted and you may be excited to start getting back to your normal routine, it is extremely common that you, and more specifically, your children will have varied emotions when it comes to anxiety. In this blog post, we are going to be discussing some ways that you can help your child cope with anxiety that may be caused by our return to daily activities. Keep reading to learn more.
Encourage Them To Talk About It
Emotional intelligence is one of the most important aspects that any child can learn, especially now that we are in a very unknown time that has us all feeling various types of emotions. Encourage your child to talk about how they are feeling. This can be as simple as doing some type of stoplight exercise (using the colors to describe their mood) or mood chart. It might also require you, as a caretaker, to have a more in depth conversation with your child about emotions and what they mean. This doesn’t have to be a serious talk, but even if you are driving in the car or at dinner time, start talking to them about how you feel and how they feel. Children live by example, and seeing you discuss your feelings with them can help them see how they should communicate theirs. It also allows them to feel safe and validated. Naming your emotions and helping them name their emotions, which will allow them to be better communicators with you and others.
Expect Separation Anxiety
As we’ve spent more time at home and with our families, you may be worried about how your child is going to react once they return to their normal daily routines. Expect your child to have some form of separation anxiety. We as adults may be harboring feelings of anxiety about leaving the safety of our homes, so factoring in children leaving their homes and safe zones, it can be scary for them. This can be frustrating, especially if your child had separation anxiety issues that they’ve previously worked on or dealt with, it can almost seem like you’re taking steps back. While every child is different, many children are extremely resilient and will be able to bounce back.
Let Other Caretakers Know How They’re Feeling
If they are returning to another parent or another caretaker and they’ve been struggling, let that caretaker know. Once again, it is completely normal for children to feel out of control, anxious, or scared about the world around them. Due to these feelings, they may be more inclined to misbehave or act differently from how they usually would. Communicating with caregivers can not only help the other person be more prepared, but it can open the conversation for that child and the caregiver to help them understand where this behavior is stemming from.
Do What Is Best For Them
At the end of the day, you know what is best for your child. If there are centers opening around you and you are not comfortable placing your child there or they won’t do well, you have to do what is best for them. Sometimes it’s good to throw caution to the wind and get them back to their routine as quickly as possible and while some children will be able to do that, others may need more time. It’s important to understand that everyone is doing the things in their own way and that we have to respect those differences.
Seek Help If Needed
This is a tough time for everyone and just like adults, children can benefit from various forms of therapy. This can be helpful in all walks of life but will be able to help give you and your child the tools and skills they need to build a stronger relationship with themselves and those around them. It can help them with feelings of autonomy, emotional intelligence, and other problem solving skills. If your child may be needing extra help, therapy is a wonderful tool to help their mental health.
Therapy also helps give children a healthy view of mental health and how to take care of themselves in that way. As an adult, modeling this behavior can help them understand the various steps you take in order to keep your mind just as healthy as your body. This can even help open up the conversations about mental health, and what that means for you and your child.
Once again, this is a weird time for all of us. Whether you’ve been highly affected or your life has only seen subtle changes, children experiencing fear and anxiety due to the coronavirus is completely normal. We hope these tips help you open up the door to the necessary conversations. At Cy-Fair Montessori School, we are looking forward to being able to see your child every day again! In the meantime, stay healthy and safe. For more information about our school and what we are doing to stay safe, connect with us directly.