Social distancing – how to deal with it?
The prolonging time of social isolation might be difficult for both parents and children. Financial, living and health-related consequences are being discussed, as well as those related to our psychological wellbeing. We are surrounded by negative information and statistics, we are locked down with our family members, burdened by work obligations while caring for our little ones.
Despite the sense that time has stood still, it is important to remember that it is just as important for our children now as before: they are continuing to develop; they are curious about the world; they still need our support and interest especially now, when their social contact has been limited.
In these extraordinary times, it is good to draw special attention to the aspects of everyday life. Some of them had been listed below.
#Be an example
Children comprehend the current situation in many different ways. While observing nervousness, anxiety and helplessness in their parents, the might start feeling the same way. Prolonged exposure to these kinds of emotions might cause further difficulties in their own self-regulation. It is worth to remember that children learn feelings and behaviors from their closest caretakers who are role models thanks to whom youngsters know how to function in society.
The situation which forces us to stay at home is a great possibility to deepen relationships. It is crucial to talk about needs, both emotional and the basic ones. Perhaps all family members will gain from more frequent conversations and the normalization of the current situation.
#Play & fun
Kids have plenty of ideas for games and having fun. Invite them to spend time together, support their innovative ways to play. By doing so, they have an opportunity to develop creativity, self-efficacy, and they may also feel more appreciated by seeing that their parents are interested.
Planning the day is crucial when it comes daily life organisation, especially in times when school and a leisure overlap. It is worth to separate these two fields, so kids will associate the new plan with the one from the past. Organizing your child’s day may also help in reducing stress due to the constant feeling of needing to work.
#Take care of yourself
To be able to manage all of the above while taking care of our kids, we must take care of ourselves first! We must have our own personal space and take care of our mental and physical selves. Find time for yourself, support your interests or find a new ones. Limit the time for “worrying” and checking the worrisome news. Overflow of information and stress may influence our mood and even health.
The current situation requires a re-organization of our lives and might be overwhelming as it limits us for various reasons. Nevertheless, it is good to look at it from a positive perspective and use this time for new possibilities.
- Brooks, S., Webster, R., Smith, L., i in. (2020). The Psychological Impact of Quarantine and How to Reduce it: Rapid Review of the Evidence. The Lancet. 395(10227): 912-920
- Cava, M. A., Fay, K. E., Beanlands, H. J., McCay, E. A., Wignall, R. (2005). The Experience of Quarantine for Individuals Affected by SARS in Toronto. Public Health Nursing, 22(5), 398–406.
Text by Ms Karolina Ciesielka, a school psychologist.