Up until now, when most people hear the word pandemic it brought to mind movies about exotic overseas illnesses. Now, for some, it is hitting a little close to home. So how do you manage the stress of the current health care crisis and how do you help your family?
The good news is regardless of whether it is a worldwide illness or a crisis closer to home the answer is really the same. Children react, in part, on what they see from the adults around them. When parents react calmly and confidently in a crisis, they can provide the best support for their children.
• Take time to talk with your child about what is happening and use child-friendly terms.
• Let them know it is ok if they feel upset.
• Acknowledge your own stress and share with them how you are dealing with it.
• Limit your child’s exposure to media coverage. (This applies to adults too)
• Keep a sense of structure in your family life even when you are unable to attend normally planned events.
• Let kids make small, age-appropriate decisions. Being able to decide what is for dessert, or what kind of scented soap to use help give kids a sense of control in a scary world.
• Understand no two children (or adults) react the same. Our reactions are dependent on many things including age, temperament, and past history.
If you or your child is struggling, understand you are not alone. Feelings of uncertainty are upsetting and this is normal. If feelings of anxiety over the crisis continue, or if you notice that you or your child are not sleeping, not eating, or withdrawing from friends and family reach out to a mental health professional. Rest assured, even in a crisis, we are here to help.
Change happens with support, guidance, wisdom, and trust. At Lamplight Counseling Services LLC we are ready to earn that trust. Reach out to schedule an appointment in Medina or Independence.