TIPS TO ENSURE THE MENTAL HEALTH OF YOUR CHILDREN

Today I write to you in my capacity as a Family Therapist

CLICK HERE TO SEE ME TALKING ABOUT TIPS TO ENSURE THE MENTAL HEALTH OF YOUR CHILDREN

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGZj6ygt9m0

A short history:  Back in the day, I did a Masters in Clinical Social Work, and specialized as a Family Therapist. Whilst working with the whole family, I soon realized that the children were symptomatic because the parents were problematic. The parental relationships, their own anxieties and the inability to soothe themselves through difficult emotions triggered behavioral problems in their kids.

I kicked the children out of the therapy room, became a Couple and Sex Therapist and Clinical Sexologist, and began to work exclusively with their parents.

Now, during lockdown, more than any other time, you parents have a tremendous responsibility in managing the emotions of your children in the situation in which your child cannot see, nor localize the “enemy”…namely,  COVID-19.

I am here to assist you. I am here to give you tools and resources for your parental toolbox.

TIPS TO ENSURE THE MENTAL HEALTH OF YOUR CHILDREN

PARENTAL TOOLS FOR ONESELF

  1. Know that your children pick up anxiety from you. So, the most important message I give you is ground yourself first.
  2. In order to convey to your children that they will be protected and that you will make them safe, it is imperative that you help yourself first.
  3. Acknowledge that you are exhausted as your brains are working overtime to adapt to new life conditions.
  4. Pay attention to the anxiety that you are feeling. Do not judge it, nor criticize yourself for feeling emotionally out of control. This is called mindfulness.
  5. Self-care, self-compassion, and kindness is essential as a daily practice for you to ground yourself. For example, take time out, exercise, social connection online with your own people.
  6. Monitor your own exposure to the news as this may escalate your anxiety.
  7. Hug yourself, really hug, to help you to hold what you feel, help you contain sensations so they are less overwhelming.

 

PARENTAL TOOLS FOR MANAGING CHILDREN

  1. Avoid using catastrophic language whilst honestly acknowledging uncertainty.
  2. Keep levity, humor and fun the goals when interacting with your children.
  3. You want them to express what is happening inside their minds and bodies. That is to be able to talk about their fears, anxieties and losses. (see resources below).
  4. Children deal with danger by attaching. For this reason, you need to convey a sense of calm in yourself. You want them to attach securely to you rather than shutting down (flight response) or becoming aggressive (fight response).

MINDFUL GAMES TO PLAY WITH CHILDREN

  1. MAKE UP SONGS TOGETHER… THEN ADD IN PHYSICAL MOVEMENTS AND MOVE TOGETHER.
  2. THROW A BALL TO EACH OTHER:  the brain quietens down when you do rhythmic play.
  3. HOPSCOTCH and DANCE: children feel that their heart rate can be elevated in a playful way, not just through fear.  Doing this when a child expresses fear, is useful. Let them dance the sensations out.  Ask them how their heart feels afterwards. Then do a quiet activity.
  4. GINGERBREAD PERSON: give your child an image of a gingerbread person. Ask them to use different colors and color in the shapes and colors of how they feel in different parts of their body.
  5. GINGERBREAD PERSON:  give your child an image of a gingerbread person. Give them 2x different colors that represent two different feelings, namely uncomfortable and comfortable sensations. As the parent, you do this first- color in the feelings that are inside your body. Discuss with your child as they are doing the activity.

RESOURCES THAT I RECOMMEND

  • PODCAST “A MOM’S RETREAT” FOR STUCK-AT HOME PARENTS, with Lynn Lyons

https://luxerecess.com/amomsretreat/stuck-in-home-parenting-podcast-lynn-lyons/

  • BOOK: “MINDFUL DAY” by Deborah Hopkinson.  A beautiful book for children of all ages

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OM9LtBWCgY

  • ANIMATION VIDEO on MINDFULNESS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6T02g5hnT4

WATCH THESE **LATEST** VIDEOS FROM INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALISTS, GROOTE SCHUUR HOSPITAL  https://youtu.be/BuTupQiUtxw

 

Do’s & Don’ts

 

Xhosa COVID-19         to download CLICK HERE

Zulu COVID-19           to download CLICK HERE

English COVID-19       to download CLICK HERE

Afrikaans COVID-19   to download CLICK HERE

 

Flattening the Curve

 

English COVID-19       to download CLICK HERE

Afrikaans COVID-19   to download CLICK HERE

Xhosa COVID-19         to download CLICK HERE

Zulu COVID-19           to download CLICK HERE

 

Feel free to reach out to me via Whatsapp. Anonymity is guaranteed.  Let me know where your anxieties, fears and worries sit with you. Tell me what is soothing for you.  And what you need in this time of radical uncertainty.

060 890 1062

Feel free to book a tele-therapy Skype session with me right here… https://www.dreve.co.za/appointment/

For more information please contact my PA Shantel: shantel@dreve.co.za

Take care

Marlene #stayhome

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