Alright, now we know that COVID is effecting more than just our physical bodies, but our mental and emotional selves as well (see last week’s blog). So what can we do to ensure that our kids are not storing all of this stress and are processing this possible trauma in a positive and constructive way?
As mentioned in part 1, it has been found that children are reacting to all of this commotion by “feeling sad, irritable or confused, having sleeping disorders, physical reactions and fear of the unknown.” (1) What can we do to help alleviate some of these possible outcomes so that our kids are not affected long term?
Help reinforce a positive mentality around COVID with visualization. You don’t have to pray to send out positive thoughts. Before bed each night, verbalize or focus on sending positive energy to all of those affected by COVID, whether it be to people who have friends, family members, or individuals who are directly infected themselves. Wish them good health and send lots of positive healing vibes to the whole world.
When I used to fly on planes, my mother would tell me to envision a bubble around the plane, it would provide protection and ensure the plane landed safely. Tell your child to envision a giant bubble around the whole world, fill it with love and good healing vibes. Imagine the whole world healing, not just from COVID, but from all distress that we are currently enduring.
Daily meditation practice is a must! Whether you choose to practice in the morning, noon, or night, we all could use some meditation in our lives. Start with two minutes and begin to make it routine. We need to calm the chaos in our minds. Our children are so overstimulated with negative information and are living in a somewhat scary reality. Take a minute to sit down, slow down, chill out. Your brain will thank you. This can also help rewire negative thought patterns within the brain, something that will definitely help you in the long run.
Breathwork will save your soul. Taking a moment to breathe everyday could quite literally save you. With rising anxiety and stressors around every corner, it is so important to practice a little bit of pranayama. Whether you do a few minutes of alternate nostril breathing or just some deep belly breaths, this will create IMMENSE positive benefits on your whole system. Deep breathing has been shown to help regulate the nervous system, as well as our hormonal and circulatory systems. It teaches us to slow down, focus within and connect with our bodies.
- Hatha (yoga postures)
Create a fun Hatha practice for your kids. If your child is more rambunctious you might want to begin with a more upbeat practice. Some fast-paced “Sargeant Salutations” and maybe a few rounds of “Joggin’ Thru the Jungle”.
If you can manage it, after getting their “ya-ya’s” out, bring them down to a slower pace. When I was a kid, I LOVED the slow stuff. Although I didn’t get into Restorative or Yin until much later in life, I know I would have loved it as a kid. Give your child a gift and create a nice restorative class for them. Maybe put them in supported Child’s pose and then give them a nice back rub, or let them lay in Savasana and massage their feet or scalp.
This is such a sweet and connective way for both you and your child to bond, and also for your child to relax and get in touch with their body. A few other good poses are supported Bridge pose, supported Fish (this one is great for anxiety), and Legs up the Wall.
- Creative arts
Creative arts is an incredible outlet, whichever medium you may choose. Whether your child likes to paint, draw, act, or dance, creative expression is such an important way to channel their energy. Try to set up at least two times per week that you can be creative with your child, even if it’s just for twenty minutes.
Although I don’t have children of my own, I have many years of experience nannying for families, and working at yoga camps. Dance parties were always our go-to. After school we would come home and immediately put on whatever our favorite song was at the time, usually on repeat (a LOT of the Troll’s soundtrack) and then we would dance around the house and be silly! This was a time we always looked forward to and it completely alleviated any stress from the day. At camp we also broke up the day with lots of dance. Allow your kids a few minutes of fun, and then move on to the more mundane and mandatory stuff.
Remember, this is all subjective and you must find what suits you and your child’s needs best. Try a few things, observe how they respond. Do they fall asleep faster, sleep better and wake up with a good attitude? When you pick them up from school do they share more positive things from their day? Observe their stress levels and try to be empathetic with what it must be like to be growing up in this type of environment. We’re all in this together, so let’s be sure to spread the love.
In part 3, we’ll discuss some tools on how you can take better care of YOURSELF during times like these. Do I hear a self-care shoutout? Stay tuned.
- Mental Health and Wellbeing of Children and Families Impacted by COVID 19.” UNICEF Global, 26 Mar. 2020, www.unicef.org/northmacedonia/mental-health-and-wellbeing-children-and-families-impacted-covid-19.
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