By Marté J. Matthews, MA, LMFT
Well, that was sudden!
On Friday, March 13, schools were closed and kids were sent home for the next three weeks, maybe longer. As of midnight March 17, we are sheltering in place. We can only go out for doctor’s appointments, shopping for toilet paper and walking the dog. Parents are balancing “work from home” schedules with “social distancing” instructions, all while trying to home school and manage their own fears about the public health crisis. Yikes!
We want you to know that the counselors and therapists at Child & Family Counseling Group have a few suggestions to help.
“Under stress, we regress.” If your child’s anxiety has been under better control lately, this situation could be enough to cause some symptoms to flare up again. Be patient, but not too patient. Review the coping skills and strategies your child has been learning in psychotherapy to get back on track. You may need to use the strategies more during this stressful period of time.
Get the facts: For fact-based information, you can visit the websites for reputable news organizations like KQED, the CDC, and your local public health department.
Put your own “oxygen mask” on first: Kids look to parents for cues, and they will be sensitive to your anxiety and tension. This means you need to take care of yourself first. Be sure you are eating meals regularly and taking time to relax and breathe. Apps such as Calm, Headspace and Insight Timer may help with reducing stress. Taking time daily for progressive muscle relaxation, calming breathing exercises and guided imagery can be calming. Try to find some you can share with your spouse or child. Smiling Mind is a great meditation app for kids where you can search for meditations based on age.
Need suggestions about talking with your children about the coronavirus and why all your family plans are changing? Check out these articles for tips to help them manage anxiety. These ideas are not just for kids with ADHD!
Try activities with your kids such as journaling, creating a worry box or worry cup, or scheduling a short “worry time” every day with a parent and child. Need more ideas? Keep checking our parenting blog and call your therapist.
Parent coaching sessions are available at Child & Family Counseling Group. If someone in your family, especially a child, is experiencing anxiety, talk with your child’s therapist about things you can do, and things to avoid between therapy sessions. Things you can ask your child’s therapist: How do I explain Covid19? How much do I explain? How much reassurance should I be providing? Is hand-washing turning into a battle? Or is your child washing too much?
Do you need a chance to talk about how you are doing? Could you use some support with your parenting? Just call or email to make an appointment with your CFCG family counselor or therapist. Don’t have one? Call (408) 351-1044 ext 3 to request an initial appointment, or email us on our website: www.childfamilygroup.com. We can make an appointment to meet on a telehealth platform you can access from your personal device at home. We look forward to hearing from you soon.