Kids Mental Health: The Right Approach According to Expert
Kids’ mental health is one of the major problems faced by each family. Imagine the things a kid could do before the pandemic outbreak and compare it with the sad reality now. Is it not frustrating that your kid cannot enjoy the spring break and summer breeze?
Kids’ mental health can be in torture during this crisis. No more free time playing outside and interacting with friends is not possible yet as long as no vaccines are made.
The coronavirus outbreak has made major disruptions not only for the kids but for the rest of the family as well. Face-to-face learning is not yet possible, and this is one of the most significant dilemmas among the kid’s mental health.
The feeling of anxiety and negativity has been the mind-setting of the children since it has been almost six months that physical interaction with other children is prohibited.
Now, it is not time to get scared of the effect of the pandemic outbreak. The most important thing now is to make kids feel love and at ease so that the anxiety will be gone. As a mother or guardian of the child, the global pandemic should not make you affected. Let the anxious feeling be gone.
Reassuring your child with the safety of returning to school is essential. However, make sure that you discuss the changes that he may expect at school. For example, your child needs to learn and adapt in advance of wearing protective clothing like masks and maintaining significance distancing from friends and teachers while at school. It’s crucial to often reminding to keep the safety measures between your child, his/her schoolmates, and teachers. Explain and emphasize why it is the critical factor to maintain distancing while at school for him and others, so your kids’ mental health will not be affected by the Coronavirus outbreak.
The Right Approach to your Child
The very first problem with the children now is knowing the facts about the pandemic. Explaining to your child about the World Health Organization protocol is everything to help your kid’s mental health while the vaccine is on the way.
Approach the conversation with empathy.
Every kid needs to be treated with empathy to make him/her feel that there is nothing to fear about Coronavirus. Wearing masks while playing can be uncomfortable to them, but with the right explanation, for sure, they will understand. Giving them enough information to know that the best thing to do is to follow the health protocols, it will ease eeriness and anxiety about the pandemic. Worries and emotions have a significant impact on younger individuals, especially to children.
Encourage your kid to have regular handwashing.
While going back to school is at grasp, the importance of handwashing is the best solution for kids. The WHO encourages everyone to wash their hands regularly, and it can be taught to our children. A trick for your child is “learning should be fun,” and following the hand washing will make him/her enjoy the process. A strategy is to sing along with their favorite song or do it with a dance for more fun. Probably they would ask why they need to have frequent handwashing? Better be ready with an honest answer that viruses and germs are invisible, yet it could be anywhere and can be transferred to our hands. Once they understand the importance of handwashing, they will likely make it a habit.
Introduce e-learning and guide them in using digital tools.
Schools will continue, but face-to-face classes will be prohibited. Do not make this affect your kid’s mental health. Assure your child that reopening of schools will have a little change in how she/he will attend classes. Help him/her to be familiarized with digital tools and how to share information with his/her classmates. It will be the advantage of your child if he/she will know the proper adjustments ahead. Learning may happen at school, but bigger chances are at home. So supporting your child in the meantime is needed. Safe and monitored use of online games, social media platforms, and video chat programs will be great opportunities to connect, learn, and play with their friends at school.
Look for symptoms of anxiety and stress.
This pandemic shows that even a child can suffer from anxiety or stress. Ergo, keep an eye on your child. The impact on kids’ mental health is essential to be countered with a demonstration of empathy and support. Look out for misinformation about the Coronavirus. This information, when reached by your child/ren, can have a grave impact on his/her mental health. Encourage them to seek your guidance always so they can share information with you, and you will be aware of what they have read and seen online.
Also, be familiar with cyberbullying. It is now a common incident happening online. Your child cannot avoid this, therefore, orient them with this kind of intimidation online. It would be best if you emphasized that your child should trust you in this matter and let them feel that they are not alone. The feeling of comfort is essential for a child since, at this age, mental and emotional stress can affect them easily. Honest conversations will make them understand and make you a trustworthy person for your child/ren.
Help them familiarize themselves with the school policies about safeguarding and against bullying.
Informing your child about the school policies and protocols will be an appropriate approach to ensure your kid’s mental health is always on guard. Schools should be the second home of your kids, and they need to know that they are safe at schools. Meanwhile, you must have constant communication with the school office to give you a day to day after school report.
Anxiety is contagious.
When your child feels your anxiety, your child will likely manifest the same emotions. That is why controlling your stress as a parent will help your kids’ mental health and emotions. Being cool despite your worries should be the ambiance surrounding your kid/s.
How to analyze kids’ mental health?
Having a conversation with your child/ren is the first step to know his/her emotions and mental health. Here is guidance for a child at a different developmental level.
Age 2 – 6 or Pre-School Kids
Stay calm around them and let them feel the parental emotions with the following when they are around.
Keep unnecessary images that can create scary pictures in their mind. Words from adults have a significant impact, so be sensitive about the topic with other adults. Comfort them during uncertain situations like having the illness. To avoid getting sick, preventive measures like hand washing and wiping surfaces will do the trick.
Age 7 – 12 or School-Age Children
This age can understand certain things around them like the Coronavirus. As a parent or guardian of children between this age, it will not be hard to explain about the pandemic. Give them information on how to prevent, and why is it essential that proper hygiene is the key to stop spreading the virus. Being mindful as well in preparation for stocking food at home in case quarantine will be placed for a month or two. Continue to guide them in watching television or digital platforms, so they will understand what they are seeing. Reading books and playing together are some ways to help them enjoy staying at home.
Age 13 – 18 or Adolescents and Young Adults
Teenagers and young adults though they know more about COVID-19, this age are potentially in danger. Why? Because they are more curious about the pandemic. They will research and watch different news on TV or videos online about the Coronavirus. But never let them sit alone to contemplate as curiosity can bring them to future risk that it is still essential to monitor them and ask them how they are feeling. Guide and inform them about trusted sites to know about the Coronavirus. Involve them in indoor activities with the rest of the family members.
Sharing My Thoughts
Consider that kids’ mental health is one of the priorities in your family at this time. The COVID-19 is a pandemic that affects the world; thus, it is essential to know the right approach to protect your family. This outbreak does not only affect the jobs and social status of a state. Further, emotional and mental health is also on the verge of these pandemic casualties.