anxiety in children
Anxiety, a word we are probably all very familiar with during these times. Whether it exists in our own daily lives or is affecting members of our family especially during repeated lockdowns. It is a normal response to stressful situations but what can we do if it is causing huge mental strain on our children? I will get to that but let us look back on the real picture.
It the last twelve months kids have been out of school and in some cases heavily isolated at home. From there they saw a brief Irish Summer with limited activities and a return to a school structured environment September last year. With a brief re-opening of after schools the majority of children saw their indoor extra curricular activities closed again by November. And of course Christmas was short lived resulting in school closure and an unexpected leap online to virtual school classrooms causing more anxiety.
Today April 12th 2021 all children have again returned to school. It takes very little reminding of how we have all struggled in some way with our own anxieties during COVID but for a child this level of unpredictability has caused a huge amount of psychological stress.
how can we help children?
As an after school service I have kept connected with all my clients since March last year, whether it be through making individual videos, Online Classes or monthly check-ins.
Here are some of my tips to support children during uncertainty.
- Listen to the concerns which are causing stress and anxiety.
- Encourage creativity whether it’s drawing or writing down thoughts.
- Encourage exercise whether it’s outside or watching Joe Wicks.
- Express positive realistic expectations.
- Remind your child that the current situation is only temporary.
- Talk to you child about their emotions and tell them it’s ok not to be ok!
The aim is to reduce levels of anxieties but not to eliminate it. Anxiety can be used as fuel for creative expression and the response to this feeling should come from a respectful attitude rather than from anger.
Going back to school is always an event for every child. It can cause levels of excitement for some and even in normal circumstances pre COVID it can be an anxious adjustment for many. But during COVID when many parents are still out of employment and with after schools still closed, children may feel ultimately deprived of social enjoyment and development.
As all kids return to school today and some restrictions ease we can all stay hopeful that after schools can soon re-open safely and children will get to experience the activities they love to do as part of their psycho-social wellbeing.
other articles and blogs by heidi
- Teaching Kids to have a Victorious Mindset
- Keeping Kids active in Lockdown
- Using Creative Fitness to tackle Mental Health
- Growth Mindset Training
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