Right now, the news is a scary place and the world is starting to feel like a scary place. If you are the parent of an anxious child this is a time of increased stress, fear, and difficulties for you and your family. Perhaps you are feeling overwhelmed and are not sure how to help your child who is also feeling overwhelmed. Perhaps dealing with all of your together in a small space is getting difficult From a parent and psychologist who works with anxious children here are a few ideas:
- Turn off the news and social media in your home. Make home a vacation from the stress that surrounds you all. If you cannot turn them off altogether limit your time to one set half an hour per day. This half an hour per day should not include the children.
- Focus on what you can do to help – watch videos on how to wash your hands properly, practice controlling your own thoughts, focus on your breathing, control what you can control
- Focus on helping others – can you donate something to a foodbank or a charity that will be hard hit at this time. Call someone who might be feeling more isolated than you and help break up their sense of isolation. Taking the focus off of you and your situation and onto others is an excellent way to combat anxiety.
- Get the facts from the right sources – misinformation is anxiety provoking. Health Canada and the World Health Organization offer up to date facts-based sources of information. Stay away from blogs and other sources who may provide misleading and anxiety provoking information.
- Create a schedule – People do best with a sense of purpose. Schedule your day like you would if you were working and the children were in daycare. Have set times for meals and for bedtime and wake up. Plan activities to do during the day like arts and crafts, reading stories, and active play. If you are able to go outside into your yard make sure you include this.
- Work out! There are excellent videos you can get online to let you work out from home without equipment. Include the whole family and put on music you love. The littlest ones will find you moving around entertaining and the movement will improve everyone’s mood.
- Use video chats to create play dates. Talking with others can really help lift the isolation. Chat with family members and friends at least once a day this will help to ease the sense of isolation. You cannot meet in person but you can still meet virtually.
- Learn a new skill together – now is the time to learn how to bake or sew. Or let your children teach you about something they can do.
- Use the power of the internet for good. Many museums offer virtual tours and there are platforms where you can watch live performances through your library membership. Take a tour together as a family.
- Manage your own anxiety. How you are feeling models for your children how they are feeling.
- Shift your view about this time. This is the gift of spending more time as a family making memories.
- Reach out! Ask for help. Many psychologist and therapists can offer telephone and video therapy. If you are really struggling you do not have to do it alone we are here to help and happy to help.
There are many things that make this time stressful and anxiety provoking. Challenging times are opportunities for growth, connection, and discovery. Use the added time together for good make this a time that you and your children will remember positively for years to come.