Healthy connection - spending
Spend time with your child 1:1 or as a family. Find a common/shared interest. Explore a new hobby. Bake, cook or have dinner together. What’s important is that you are together and enjoying each other’s company.
Positive role model
Because children take their cues from adults, your own well-being is very important. Try your best to convey a sense of calm. Let your children know that change is stressful. Let them see how you are practicing self-care and prioritizing your well-being. Try a new well-being strategy and invite your child to do this with you - things like reading, watching comedies or telling jokes, going for walks/being outside, meditating or helping someone, or practicing mindfulness or gratitude.
Someone to listen to them
It is important that children know that there are adults who will listen to them as they talk about their concerns, questions or fears. Ask your children if they have questions or concerns. Ask them who they can talk to at school or help them to identify someone whom they could talk to at school.
Teach/reinforce well-being strategies
Ask your child what well-being and coping strategies they are using and/or have found helpful in the past. Ask them how they use this strategy, and how it helps them to feel better. Encourage your child(ren) to plan to use one or more of these strategies everyday.
Take this opportunity to teach your child new coping strategies. Deep breathing, physical activity, being in nature, mindfulness, playing a game, having fun, playing with pets, arts and crafts, journaling, practicing gratitude and listening to music are positive coping strategies.
12 Easy and Fun Activities Mental Health Activities for Elementary Students (SMHO)
Look for the positive
Ask your child(ren) for examples (or share examples) of positive things. Ask them for examples (or share examples) of improvements because of the pandemic Ask your child what they are feeling hopeful about, or things that they are looking forward to. Encourage your child(ren) to think about what they can do to show kindness and be helpful to others. Note how people come together in difficult times. Can they ‘interview’ elders or seniors to learn what difficult times they have been through and how they coped? Ask/help your child to identify the ways that they have coped with the pandemic, and the lessons they have learned from this experience.
Limit exposure to overwhelming news
Frequent exposure to TV/media coverage, and/or overhearing or being exposed to continuous adult conversation can increase your child’s anxiety. Ask your child(ren) how much news media they are consuming, and suggest that they limit their viewing to approximately 30 minutes a day.
Guidance around screen time
Children and youth spend a lot of their time in front of screens including social media. Ask your child about their technology use: what do they notice about their mood and emotions? How do they feel if they are not connected to their devices? Has anything bad happened while they were online (sexting, bullying, etc.)? Ask them, “what would you do if you weren’t on your device?” Encourage use of devices for creative and innovative purposes (a healthy way to use screen time). Consider screen free times every day.
Positive personal and cultural identity Strategies
A child/teen’s Identity includes having an awareness of, and valuing, their natural physical features, attributes, abilities, gender, race and culture. While it begins with family, a child’s identity is then shaped by social and cultural contexts. Identity often changes over time through your child’s awareness and life experiences. By encouraging your child’s abilities and interests you help them to develop as their own person. When parents and other adults express love, empathy, acceptance and appreciation of the child/teen as a unique individual it fosters a positive identity and helps them to feel valued and have a sense of belonging.