We are going through another lockdown in Sri Lanka right now and this time, the Delta variant has increased panic levels to almost never before seen heights. With news reports flashing worrisome news all day, parents as well as children have challenges coping with anxiety, uncertainty and curfew blues. Here’s how you can help your toddler or preteen.
A lot of kids seem to be experiencing increased anxiety. Why?
Like adults, children and teens are missing being around their peers. They need those relationships not just to feel good, but also to practice social skills. Now that we’ve been in this for almost nine months, we’re seeing the effects of what happens when children are separated from regular social interaction for long periods of time.
What can parents do to help their children cope with anxiety?
The most important thing you can do is to let your child know you’ll be there for them — it’s so simple but so fundamental. You can also try the following tips.
• Listen to them. Children experience and navigate the world through a different lens than adults. Their worries need not be rational or fact based, but they are still valid.
• Teach them coping skills. Regular exercise, turning off screens at least an hour before bed, and using apps like Calm to practice deep breathing and other relaxation techniques can all help kids (and parents) ease anxiety.
• Schedule safe playdates. There’s no substitute for being around friends — kids relate to each other in ways that adults just can’t. Ask your child if they’d be interested in seeing the friends in their circle, as long as they follow safe precautions like wearing masks and practicing physical distancing.
Many parents are having a harder time dealing with COVID-19 than their children, and some of the anxiety that kids are experiencing may be inadvertently passed on by worried parents. As parents, we need to be modeling for our kids how to react to stressful times by coping with anxiety in healthy ways. We have to be mindful of the present and stay focused on what is actually happening and not let ourselves go to worst case scenarios