Dr. Ann-Louise T. Lockhart, PsyD, ABPP, a Pediatric Psychologist and Parent Coach from A New Day Pediatric Psychology, is sharing ways to work through this uncharted territory we are all in. In the coming weeks, we will continue sharing videos like these to #spreadlovenotgerms and #bemindfulnotfearful during these uncertain times. If you would like to share a video to promote positivity and inspiration in our community, DM us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!
How do you prepare for a global health crisis? Lots of you are going through transitions as parents. Maybe you are out of work or your work schedule is changing. Maybe you have to telecommute or go in at different hours. You are dealing with your children being home from school, unable to attend on a regular basis because their school is closed for 2-8 weeks or more. Maybe you are having to deal with your kids learning and receiving instruction via a different platform to a more online experience. What if they’re very young? How do you do online instruction with very young kids? How about if they have concerns with anxiety, dyslexia, ADHD, or other executive functioning challenges? These are a lot of questions and dealing with. This is all new territory for so many of us.
I am here to offer a few tips and strategies of things that have helped me as a mom and as a professional psychologist helping children through these very rough waters.
Here they are:
- Give yourself a chance to breathe. Allow yourself a break from the news and things that are happening. We are bombarded with tons of information. We are having to deal with new things closing, people being impacted, canceled plans and delayed trips. Allow yourself time to breathe, relax, and shut it out when you need to.
- Have a schedule for yourself and your children. I hear a lot of mixed messages about this, but I feel strongly about this as a professional and as a mom. Having a schedule at work is helpful. It allows you to know what to expect. When unexpected things happen, we can plan accordingly, because we have a schedule. The same goes for our children. My kids and the kids I see in therapy ask for a schedule. They want this. They need it. Now, the schedule will be very different from how it is at school. You can be more flexible with this. You don’t have to be so strict with it and you don’t have to follow it exactly. It is simply a guideline to provide structure during very unstructured times. It doesn’t have to be packed full of stuff. It’s about helping to preserve some sense of normalcy and predictability, so they understand what is coming next. Having a set schedule can be helpful. Children need to have some sense of continuity regarding instruction even if it’s one to two hours a day.
- Make time to receive support. Allow your children to connect with friends virtually (video games, FaceTime, recordings, texting). Connection and social support are especially important during this time, particularly for teens and young adults. You need support for yourself as well. Don’t take this for granted. Reach out to others and stay connected.
- Make time to connect as a family. Spend time playing cards or board games together. Maybe these are things you have never done before or never wanted to do, but you have to be creative about it. Bring out some of the old school games like Uno, Sorry, Battleship, and Twister. When kids come to my office, they love the entire shelf of board games and they love playing them. Do these things as a family. Have a family movie night. Take a break from the news and all the bad news and reconnect as a family.
I hope you know things are going to get worse. That’s the reality. Then, they will get better again. We need to trust that and trust the process. This is a big opportunity for growth. Sometimes the best growth happens under stress.
Reach out if you need any help. There are tons of resources on Instagram and Facebook. There are a lot of providers, therapists, and coaches who will provide virtual sessions and support through online resources. Reach out and provide support to other people who need it as well.
Reach out to us at A New Day Pediatric Psychology at www.anewdaysa.com if you need help or support.
Be well. Be safe.