Ameera's Therapy To Go
I would like to start this off with a reminder to take a deep breath. Whether you are a parent, a child, a client, or just an interested reader, in the current stressful climate it is good to take any chance to destress and breathe.
Before diving into the COVID-19 fears, I want to talk a little bit about breaths. Oftentimes, it seems like too much effort to stop and take a breath even for adults. For kids, it may seem even more troublesome to do. A great way to get your child to enjoy breathing exercises is to change them up and make them fun.
Some examples of child friendly breaths are:
This website is a great resource for simple breaths, and more engaging breaths that involve your child drawing/tracing a picture. This combination can help your child relax, along with practicing their focusing skills.
Now going back the COVID-19 fears. I know this can be an anxiety provoking time, as any time of uncertainty may be, for everyone in the family. I encourage all parents to have a conversation with their child to help them feel as calm as possible.
Explain to them that although there is an illness going around affecting many, children are highly unlikely to be getting it. Turn this into a fun activity. How will they fight to stay healthy and help others? Have them draw themselves as superheroes and talk about what special powers they have. This will help boost your child's self-esteem, and allow them to be explore their imagination.
Expand on their "superhero" to include powers on how to help others that may be more vulnerable. Talk about social distancing (for now), buying gift certificates to support small businesses (for later use), and washing their hands (hopefully forever). This will encourage your children to think of others, and practice their empathy skills.
One of the most difficult parts of social distancing and staying home, is keeping your kids entertained. Some other ideas of ways to keep them (and parents) entertained is:
1.) Make a vision board- choose a theme (health, education etc.) and make a board that represents that theme. Talk about how you are going to make those visions/goals come true.
2.) Clean out clutter- Go through your children's toys, books, clothes with them and pick out things that they no longer need. Talk to them about not keeping things that they no longer need, and donating things that are in good shape to others that may make more use of them.
3.) Yoga- For older kids/adults: try yoga with adrienne. She has different flows with a wide array of topics covered from chronic pain, to anxiety. https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene
for younger kids: try cosmic kids yoga. They have several videos of all lengths for kids that might not be able to pay attention for a long time. There are yoga practices, along with mindfulness activities. https://www.youtube.com/user/CosmicKidsYoga
4.) Writing letters: have your child make a hand written letter or card for someone they are missing in their time off from school, or to older family members. This will encourage them to think of their friends and more vulnerable family members, while also reminding them that this time period is only temporary and will be over eventually.
5.) Family Classes- Take the time to teach your family members about something that you enjoy doing. Dedicate an hour or so to a family member in which they will teach the rest of the family a skill, or game. Some additional ideas are, art, woodworking, cooking etc. This will allow your family to spend time together and learn something new! It will also encourage your child's confidence when it is their turn to teach.
The most important thing during this time period is to remain calm. Try not to worry about things that are out of control, and instead focus on what you can control in the situation. Remind your child that this is a time for the Earth and its inhabitants to heal, and eventually go back to "normal," with more knowledge and good health.
If you find that you as a parent are feeling overwhelmed, don't feel bad to take a little bit of time away from your children, while they are doing an activity, napping, elearning, or even watching tv. Take some time to yourself, so that you can remain as calm as possible. Children are able to pick up on feelings of anxiety, so managing your own and practicing self care is extremely important. Use some time to yourself to do whatever makes you feel more at ease. (take a bath, read a book, call a friend, do a face mask, take a nap etc.) When you feel better, it will help you best help your child.
Another reminder: Children do well with routine. Try and keep your days as routine as possible, and schedule time for things such as, walking outside, or staying active. Use a daily family meeting to plan the schedule for the next day. This will encourage your child to practice their planning skills, and will allow them to stay on task.
An additional reminder: Your therapists at Tree House Center for Growth and Learning are here to support you and your family during this stressful time. Please contact us to schedule an appointment if you or your child are feeling overwhelmed- we are offering teletherapy sessions!
Stay tuned for more tips & updates throughout this period!