Children, parents, caregivers and families are coping with managing daily life as well as the current climate of the coronavirus. Feelings such as stress, anxiety, isolation and sadness may arise. The cumulative impact of stress can take a toll as time passes.
Crises can bring out the best in each other. Sticking together, being kind and focusing on what is within our control can promote resilience. Taking care of feelings and taking some simple steps can help our brains and hearts feel less worried.
Families might like to develop a family plan to get through this time. This could include the following steps.
- Take care of feelings – check in with children to see how they are feeling, do they have any questions or worries about what they have heard or seen during the day. Stick to the facts. Listen to feelings (i.e. stay quiet while children are stating feelings). Brainstorm what they can do to take care of their emotion.
- Stick to the facts – over exposure to information can increase a sense of anxiety. Sticking to the facts helps to minimise this. Update knowledge from reliable sources such as the Australian Government’s ‘health alert’ website.
- Change vs ‘same-same’ – the idea of constant change can be stressful and trigger feelings of uncertainty. Shift gears by focusing on what is ‘same-same’ – eg. Loving each other, having each other’s back, the sun goes to bed and gets up every day, pets have to be fed and loved. Look around your home, life and to each other for what is ‘same-same’. Noticing what is constant is self-soothing and promotes a sense of security.
- Do extra ‘happy’ – plan for activities/experiences which make you and your children feel happy. Do something daily. Brains which get a happy hormone hit every day are more resilient, happier and less worried. Bringing attention to the experience of ‘I am happy’ also helps the brain to take notice!
- Seek additional support – it is advisable to seek support for children and families when stress or anxiety impacts on everyday life.
This approach is informed by a mindfulness approach, cognitive behaviour therapy, positive psychology and neurobiology (brain-based). For more tips with ‘coronavirus anxiety’, fact sheets are available at: https://www.psychology.org.au/COVID-19-Australians
Families seeking support are welcome to contact CYCN on 0452 104 548 for further information. Mobile counselling services are available to provide consultations in-house. Telehealth services can also be arranged.
© Amhrose, A. 2020