Mind the Children: Mental Health in Light of Covid-19


In the light of covid-19, I believe it is safe to say that everyone’s mental health has been on the verge of erupting at one point or another. When it comes to adults, there are various positive coping mechanisms we could try to make us feel better. When it comes to children, they are susceptible (by default) to following the orders of their parents and caregivers. This can (at one point or another) lead to them feeling helpless in certain situations. For most students across the country, their sense of normalcy has been stripped away. Students are often no longer able to attend in-person classes, socialize with their friends, and attend extracurricular activities. These activities and forms of socialization are pivotal points for their development.


I want to shed some light on activities that students can partake in while at home for the betterment of their social development. First, it is important for us to understand that our children/students can also be affected by the pandemic. Here are some ways children can be affected by the pandemic:

  • Unable to see/socialize with their friends

  • Realizing that their routine has been interrupted

  • Placed in situations that are not beneficial to their wellbeing (possible abuse and/or neglect in the home)

  • Lacking the necessary tools to effectively participate in online schooling (laptop, internet access, etc).


In order to contribute to the social-emotional health of our students there are a few things that parents and caregivers can try. Here are some tips:

  • Be honest with them about what’s going on. If they have any questions about what a pandemic is, why they are unable to see their friends and so on, don’t get upset. Instead, understand that they are trying to make sense of all of this like we are.

  • Gage their understanding of what’s going on and ask them questions about their thoughts and feelings. Let them open up to you to express their feelings. Don’t be afraid to validate those feelings.

  • Create as much of a routine/schedule for them as you possibly can. I understand this may be easier said than done (especially if you are working from home yourself). Try to stick to the routine as best you can. If you fail one day, don’t beat yourself up, just try again the next day

  • Remember that this time may be just as difficult for your children as it is for you. Just because they are children, doesn’t mean that their experience of the pandemic is to be dismissed. Love on them, hug them, praise them, let them know you’re in this together.

These in-home activities may assist them with coping with the pandemic as well as get them to school ready:

  • Engaging in outside play

  • Following along with online homeschool lessons

  • Youtubing ways to stay busy around the house

  • Facetime/Skype/Zoom close family, friends, and loved ones

  • Practice yoga/meditation daily for a peaceful/calming start to the day (this can also be found on Youtube)


 

About the Author: Keenisha Protho is a young and innovative thinking social worker who has seen a lack of resources in the community and schools for children and families sparking a passion to help others. She’s earned her Master’s degree in the field and understands the need for prevention services as well as schools that are going to equip children to be productive citizens of the world. Keenisha is passionate about the mission of the Lighthouse Guild for the Gifted.


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