With more than a month of this Stay-At-Home practice under our belts, parents are feeling the strain on relationships and routines. Some feel like things were going well but they’re falling apart. Others say they felt doomed from the start; any effort to create or maintain a family routine was met with heavy resistance and/or exhaustion. One parent asked our Parent Educators about the effects of all of this on their child’s mental health. What are possible consequences of the stress, the limitations, the screen time and all these remote interactions?
We don’t know exactly how we will all transition back to the new normal. But we do know that children who deal with crisis and trauma do better when they score high on resilience.
And we know that resilience comes from connection and support. Parents and other caregiving adults build resilience by:
Helping children feel safe by sticking to routines, maintaining consistent limits, answering their questions, and making sure their basic needs are met;
Giving children a sense of trust by being emotionally available, and by accepting their feelings – even when you don’t like the behavior;
Making sure your child feels seen and heard as you make decisions for the family;
Giving your child a positive outlook and a sense of hope by talking about solutions to current challenges, and focusing on positives like time together, time outside, caring for others, and so much more.
We can’t say when, exactly, this will end or what that will look like. But when children know you are considering them and that you’re in this together they feel stronger and are set up for the best possible outcomes.
In the meantime, don’t give up on routines, play, and family rituals. If you need support or ideas, call or email The Parenting Center: 504.896.9591, firstname.lastname@example.org.