5 ways to create emotional resilience in children during uncertain times
Although South Africans are reaching nearly sixty days of lockdown – dealing with the realities of the lifestyles changes that are being made is still quite overwhelming.
Some days we wake with great positivity and a spring in our step, whilst other days are quite difficult to trudge through. That is okay. We are all experiencing different emotions at the moment, as this lifestyle is something completely new to the world.
As adults it is tough to comprehend and adjust, just imagine what is going on through the minds of our little ones. They are now seeing mum and dad more longer periods of the day whilst mum and dad work from home.
Our children are now also secluded from society – being sheltered within the home, not having the social interaction that they are so fond of. All of this has great impact on how they respond to the day. There are ways that you can help them cope emotionally during this time.
Let them know why staying at home is so important
I am sure that by now you have discussed why there has been such a great change in the way we live. However, be sure they understand (age dependent) that it is necessary for us to keep safe – and one of the ways to do this, is to actually stop physically interacting with people. This will then bring about a discussion around the symptoms of Covid-19 and how the virus spreads.
Keep this discussion simple, yet information. Do not scare your child, yet keep them well informed – so when they are ready to go back into the classroom, they will be well aware of social distancing, personal hygiene – and understanding why all of this is important.
Bring balance to their lives
Children are led by their parents therefore try to make their day fun and interesting. This does not have to be time consuming or pain-staking; but rather simple activities that they can look forward to.
Finding an interesting recipe and scheduling at time to bake or cook together will be something that your child can look forward to. Also, crafting can be amazing and also bring out their creative, imaginative side. This can also be scheduled when you are busy with online meetings or deadlines. Crafts do take time, and can therefore be a good way to create a balance for the day.
Curb your child’s anxiety
Children can become anxious as the days pass during lockdown. Their sleeping patterns may also be affected. This is because the entire routine is off sync. Through reassurance, and continuous motivation – children will feel calmer.
Remember, to cut down device time at least thirty minutes (minimum) before bedtime. Wind down with some nice story-time, or after a warm bath. Through explaining children and educating your children during this time – you will find that their anxiety and fear will be manageable. Don’t forget that children pick up the energy from their parents – so keep positive, and they will pick up that vibe too.
Tap into their emotions
With the busyness of daily life, we do not often find the time to really connect with our children. The morning run, afternoon school catch-up, sport and homework – because a vicious routine (yes, and we do miss that now). Now as we spend more time at home, in a safe space, encourage your child to talk to you – expressing their emotions.
Talk about topics ranging from the weather, to their feelings about going back to school, their friendships and sport. Keep conversations light-hearted, yet meaningful at the same time. Use this time to understand your child better – listen to their words, and emotions. Do not dismiss then, rather engage.
By connecting with them emotionally, you will allow them to feel safe and secure and know that even beyond this difficult period, you are a comfort person for them to turn to in times of difficulty. Understand their emotions – and they will become more resilient.
Fill up the gratitude jar
I believe that every home should have a gratitude jar (literally)! A small glass or plastic jar where parents and children can write down something positive to be grateful for at the end of each day. Through this practice, you will be teaching your child – through example that there are so many things to be grateful for.
These do not have to be fancy or extravagant – teach children that having a warm meal, soft and comfortable bed and pillow, a home filled with love – are all aspects to be hugely grateful for. Through instilling this beautiful quality of gratitude seeking in your child, you will be filling their heart with love and care – always remembering to see the good in every situation.
Krsangi Radhe is the founder of Sankalpa Coaching. She is an NLP practitioner, mindset coach helping women, children and couples and time-line therapist. She is an educator and motivational speaker. You may reach her via [email protected] www.sankalpacoaching.co.za