Top Tips to Support Your Child’s Mental Health During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Every parent wants nothing more than to protect their children, and now, during the Coronavirus pandemic, you’re taking every precaution to keep your kids safe by following government mandates to stay home and maintain social distancing. Thank you. You’re doing a great job.
All of us at Mundo Manía are committed to keeping your families safe, too, and we know that safety isn’t just confined to physical health, so we are dedicating this blog to ways you can help support your child’s mental health during lockdown and beyond.
Top Tips to Support Your Child’s Mental Health During the Coronavirus Pandemic:
1. It’s important to remember that children, like adults, are experiencing higher levels of worry or anxiety right now and addressing their particular concerns and fears can help greatly with their mental health during this scary time. If they are able to communicate it well enough, go ahead and ask them directly how they are feeling. Address their concerns, keeping in mind their age, and always make sure they know that, whatever they’re feeling, it’s ok to feel that way. Constantly reassure them that, although scary, feelings are temporary and so is this pandemic. If you need some help in getting the conversation started, here’s a great kid-friendly information/activity book to help (available in English and Spanish): https://www.mindheart.co/descargables
2. Keep to routines as often as possible. Even if they are small mico routines rather than complete days, there’s comfort in knowing what’s going to happen next, and even more so for children. If you have developed new routines to adapt to life in lockdown, that’s ok, too. Just try to keep them up as much as possible. If you find you do need to make more changes to your child’s routine, try to do so as gradually as possible.
3. Take added time to play with your children in activities that they like to do, even if you don’t particularly enjoy it. Keeping them physically moving and mentally distracted from their anxiety, even for brief periods of time, has great benefits to their mental health. Be careful not to complete ignore or dismiss the situation or your child’s feelings entirely though. (Bringing up big feelings casually during an activity is a great way to allow your child to express their worries without having to sit down to have ‘The Talk’, too).
4. Get outdoors as much as possible. Even though there are plenty of limitations on when, where, and how you can spend time outside right now, fresh air and exercise can do wonders for the mental health of children, so take advantage of it as much as possible. Don’t worry if you don’t have a destination or plan – let your kids wander freely and explore, run, and play any way they want. It can help give them a sense of control over their world. And did you know, that walking barefoot on grass can produce nearly instant psychological improvements in both children and adults? Called “grounding”, barefoot contact with the earth has been shown to improve sleep, reduce pain, decrease muscle tension, and lower stress.
More resources that you may find helpful are:
- Covid-19 Stress, Distress & Trauma Series with Dr. Bruce Perry (in English with Spanish subtitles available) https://www.neurosequential.com/covid-19-resources
- Care for Your Coronavirus Anxiety Toolkit https://www.virusanxiety.com/
- Care, Coppe, Connect (Sesame Street in Communities): http://first5association.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/SSTCareCopeConnect.pdf
- Angela the Cat Stays Home: A Story for Kids about Covid-19 & Worry: https://app.box.com/s/cen5m8qxbysfbaff54ichxqgnx5m1bdq/file/643902049895
- Bright Horizons Parenting Through Uncertainty Podcast: https://www.brighthorizons.com/family-resources/parenting-through-uncertainty
- Save the Children’s How to Talk to Children About the Coronavirus: https://www.reddbarna.no/six-tips-on-how-to-talk-to-children-about-the-coronavirus
- “My Hero is You” Storybook: https://resourcecentre.savethechildren.net/node/17335/pdf/my_hero_is_you_storybook_for_children_on_covid-19.pdf
Here at Mundo Manía, the Costa del Sol’s biggest indoor and outdoor kids’ play centre, we are following the guidance of health and government officials, but as soon as they determine it’s safe to do so, we’ll be opening our doors and welcoming you back! We can’t wait to see the kids run wild in our soft play areas, bounce to their hearts content in our trampoline park, play on our multi-sports pitches and enjoy our amazing new water park! We are still planning some great events during the summer and looking forward to putting on the best birthday parties! Until then, stay patient and stay safe!