Dear parents – are you wondering how to support children during Coronavirus? In these unprecedented times, most importantly, our children need to feel safe, and believe that they have the necessary resources, courage and strength to overcome these difficult times.
Naming and accepting feelings
It is crucial to acknowledge their feelings by naming and accepting them. Some of my families state that their children are reluctant to talk about their feelings. Therefore I wanted to suggest a few games you can use:
To support children during Coronavirus, you can create a dice together where you will draw each side a face with a feeling, such as happy, sad, excited, angry, scared, proud etc. Then you can play together by throwing the dice and talking about a time when you felt that way.
Or you can play an “ups and downs” game at the dinner table where every member of the family talks about one incident with an uplifting feeling such as happiness, pride, excitement and one incident with a challenging feeling such as sadness, anger, worry, disappointment or shame. And we should always remember to keep sharing our feelings and become the role model for them.
Children need to feel seen, heard and be given a space to be their unique selves. So what to do when their anxiety levels increase? So what to do when their anxiety levels increase?
Imagine a safe space
You can imagine together a safe space where you feel serene and peaceful as a refuge and talk about how your life would be when these times are over.
Using arts and crafts to express their emotions will also be helpful. Drawing the virus and scribbling on it afterwards will help them connect with the feeling of power and safety as well.
We can create a list of positive and empowering statements such as I am healthy, I am strong, I have control over my body and thoughts, I am calm, I am peaceful, I am protected, I am loved etc…
We can use a jar full of glitter and when we shake it up the glitter will be dispersed all over. This is the expression of the chaos that they are feeling inside as a metaphor. As they watch the glitters settle down, it helps them calm down and realize that even though they feel overwhelmed at this moment, this shall pass too. Let me share the formula of that glitter jar: You can fill up the jar with 3 quarters of water, add some clear soap, put some more water and finally add some glitter in it. And your glitter jar is ready to use!
Our emotions are just like weather. Sometimes we feel like there is a heavy thunderstorm, sometimes it is cloudy and sometimes it is sunny but we should always remind ourselves that the weather is temporary just like our feelings. London is famous for its gloomy and rainy weather but we had sunshine in the couple of weeks more than ever. We might be feeling anxious and stressed right now but happy moments will come back again.
Use breathing techniques
Breathing techniques are very helpful as well because breath is always there for us and is a powerful tool to regulate ourselves. This makes it a great tool to support children during Coronavirus.
You can imagine together that you are blowing the candles which are your fingers one by one. We can teach them diaphragm breathing as well. They can lie down on their back and we can put our hands or their favorite stuffed toy on their tummy and they can breathe in to raise their tummy and breath out to let it go.
Another tip to support children during Coronavirus might be to draw a protecting shield and write in each corner our strong qualities, the precautions that we take, the things that make us feel good and the people who support us such as I am courageous, I stay at home, I love drawing and my parents are with me.
This virus is teaching us to stay with the unknown and face a lot of uncertainties. Control is a total illusion. Please remember to be the role models for your children and find ways to center yourself and ground your own anxiety. Then you can guide them by taking charge calmly, communicating openly and providing them the necessary guidance.
Stay healthy, stay connected!
Dr. Etel Behmuaras Bio is a Clinical Psychologist who is registered with Health Care and Professional Council as well as British Psychological Society.
Etel runs her private practice, working with children (0-12 years old) and their parents on emotional issues such as anxiety, depression, self-esteem, family dynamics, divorce, boundaries, terrible 2’s, aggression, sleeping and eating problems.
Etel undertakes both assessment and ongoing psychotherapy with children and their parents. Etel also runs psychoeducational workshops about parenting skills in small groups, various schools and organizations.
For further information please visit etelbehmuaras.com.
****Connecting Families Parenting Programme with Dr. Etel Behmuaras***
Would you like to have a connected relationship with your child based on compassion and understanding despite Covid-19?
What did you need from your parents when you were your child’s age?
The practical tools that I will share with you will help you raise securely attached, confident, grounded and serene children.
The talks will last for an hour and Q&A time will be provided.
1. Communicating effectively through Emotional Coaching:*Enhancing communication skills and empathy*How to understand the child’s inner message?*3 traps parents fall while communicating with their children
2. Establishing constructive boundaries:*Why children need boundaries?*Different parenting styles- Authoritarian vs. Authoritative vs. Laissez-Faire*How to implement positive discipline?
3. Raising well-balanced and confident children:*How to plant the seeds of secure children?*What to do to raise independent and resilient children?
PS: The talks will be recorded and can be shared with you if you can not join alive.