Parenting in the age of COVID-19

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Parenting in the age of COVID-19Milestones Counseling & Consulting Services, has dedicated this year to focusing on Connection.  Since January, the idea of connection has taken on a new life in the age of Coronavirus or COVID-19. We are challenged to practice social distancing while remaining connected. We are encouraged to remain connected through technology rather than disconnect. The opportunities to reconnect and connect more deeply have been provided by this pandemic. Families are gathered for prolonged periods of time, with their relationships in the spotlight. Routine and “normal” are elusive as we try to create this new, hopefully temporary, normal.  Schools and businesses are closed, and parents find themselves unexpectedly dealing with a world full of uncertainty as changes seem to have occurred overnight. It’s become clear that this is not Spring Break, vacation, or holiday. Restrictions to places of entertainment, social gathering, and so on, leave few options and opportunities to live life as usual. Everyone is trying to manage the changes that have occurred in our day-to-day lives as uncertainty looms.

Yet, in all of this is opportunity. The Coronavirus has upended our day-to-day lives.  But we still have choices. “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity, “says Albert Einstein.  We can choose to see ourselves as trapped, barred, shut down or locked down, sequestered, and focus on or see the opportunities that the slowed pace of our lives provides us. If we choose to explore the opportunities that this time gives us, our days can be fuller.  What are some things that you haven’t done in a long time that you used to enjoy? What is something that you’ve always wanted to learn, but never had the time? What are the things that you’ve wanted to do but didn’t because they would take too long?

Still, prolonged periods of restricted living will cause most to feel bored. This prolonged period of time away from friends, family, activities, work, and events leave us craving a return to normal. We are missing relationships! The change of pace may cause some to reflect on aspects of their lives that they may not necessarily like. Stressors at home related to relationships may be experienced as more intense. It may be particularly hard for those diagnosed with a mental health issue such as depression, anxiety, or another mood disorder.

During times like these, symptoms can be exacerbated as the skills typically used may seem ineffective.

Here are some tips for supporting your child or teenager in the age of Coronavirus.

  • Provide Age-Appropriate Information

Consider the age of your child, the amount of content to provide, and their ability to process more complex information. Take hold of your fears as children learn what they live. Start with basic facts.

  • Model healthy ways of coping.

Children learn what they live. What are you saying about Coronavirus? Be mindful of the narrative you are creating around this. If the narrative is disastrous and with no hope, your child will believe you. Instead:

  • Practice Yoga, Mindfulness, and/or Gratitude.
  • Spirituality and faith practices can be instrumental in coping with circumstances that feel out of our control.
  • Provide structure and support

Most parents aren’t teachers. If they are teachers, they are not their child’s teacher. This is not homeschooling, as designed. This was not planned. A healthy balance of structure and freedom, creativity, and managed expectations is helpful.

  • Use this as an opportunity to teach something new, whether it be a life skill, home management, or leisure skill. Are there household management skills that you can teach your child? Perhaps there is a chore that your teenager hasn’t learned yet such as doing the laundry or making a simple meal for themselves. Maybe there is a leisure time activity that would be beneficial to have in their down times such as knitting, painting, reading a new series or different genre such as sci-fi or mystery, writing poems or lyrics.
  • Reassure

Reassure your child that we will return to some form of normal. Reassure them that people are recovering from COVID-19. Reassure them that they are safe and that you are taking precautions to prevent catching the illness.

  • Limit exposure to the news and social media content about Coronavirus.

Too much exposure can be all consuming and lead to even more heightened levels of anxiety.

  • Provide options for learning things.

Need more ideas about things to do with your child, follow this link for a list of ideas: Click Here

We are here to help you and your family during these hard times. To that end, Milestones Counseling & Consulting Services is providing  teletherapy. To schedule an appointment, call (443)574-4295, visit https://milestonesccs.com/  or email us at: admin@milestonescounseling.net 

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