Professional tips to help everyone keep calm and carry on.
We’re seeing a bit of light at the end of the #stayhome life tunnel – and the reopening process has started with getting the kids back to school. But we’re still in the middle of a pandemic and probably will be for some time. Given the stress-inducing Covid-19 sitch, we know maintaining your family’s wellbeing is a top-of-mind issue. Here, we’ve compiled the top tips from the Australian International School’s wellbeing team on how to manage as parents.
Caring for yourself is caring for the fam
You can’t pour from an empty cup – make sure you take care of your own emotional wellbeing and seek support if you need it. This will enable you to support your children and partner, too. Besides, kids often mirror the emotional states of people around them, so if you’re projecting stress and anxiety, it may also rub off on them. Try to remain calm and positive as you go about your day.
Stay connected with your loved ones
Human connection is a vital need. During this #stayhome time, you may be lucky enough to be together as a family, but don’t forget to also maintain your relationships with other loved ones. Video calls with relatives, virtual game nights and other activities help keep some semblance of normalcy for your family’s wellbeing. For the kids, encourage them to have regular catch-ups with their friends to boost their mood.
Recognise the signs your kid is struggling
Your children may not always speak up when they’re struggling with their mental health. Actively listen and observe to spot the signs that they may need additional support:
- Sleeping: Teenagers need around nine hours of sleep each day. While the optimal number of hours varies from person to person, a significant variation from this (or their usual sleeping habits) could be an indication of a mental health concern.
- Diet: Is your child eating a lot more or less than normal, or restricting certain food groups? Be sure to account for growth spurts or reduced physical activity, but if there is a drastic change in their diet, they might be under a lot of stress or have unmet emotional needs.
- Emotion regulation: Mood swings and emotional outbursts are a normal part of growing up – after all, your child is in the process of learning to regulate them. However, if your child is uncharacteristically moody, angry or sad, it’s helpful to explore why they might be feeling this way.
- Social connections: While we need to physically isolate, this doesn’t mean that social connections need to be neglected. As your child grows older, their peers become increasingly important in their life. If your child is isolating themself from their friends, talk to them to figure out what support they need.
- Energy levels: Being at home, stationary and on the laptop can be very draining. You’re probably feeling more tired than usual and so are the children. That said, if your child appears very fatigued and there are no dietary deficiencies, they may need further support from a mental health professional.
- Decline in academic performance: Studying through HBL for the past few months, it will certainly take time for the kiddos to adjust to school life again. But if you’re seeing a significant decline in their academic performance, it’s time to have a chat with them to find out what problems they’re facing.
Keep calm and carry on: Put these practical tips into practice and you’re on your way to boosting your family’s wellbeing as we ride out this pandemic!
If you have any concerns about you or your child, do reach out to a healthcare professional.
This post is in partnership with AIS.