Academics is not what your kids need most now. What your kids need is you.

Father sits with daughter

By Ann Dypiangco, LCSW

Key Recommendations 🔥

  • Understand that when your kids act out, won’t listen, and fight with everyone, it’s because they’re stressed.
  • Parental self-care is critical. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. 
  • Playing with your kids is the most important thing you can do for their mental health right now.

 

 

Since schools started closing, parents I have encountered have been primarily focusing on their kids’ educational needs.

 

That is NOT the most important thing your kids need during this unprecedented pandemic-induced global quarantine. 

 

What Parents Need to Focus on Is Their Family’s Mental Health

 

While locked down at home, our daily lives have become full of stress and anxiety.

 

Work calls and emails while wrangling a toddler, attention-seeking kids and their academic needs (when’s that classroom Google Hangout again?), the news, and planning grocery runs — all fill our days and overwhelm our emotions. It’s hard to find reprieve to even go to the bathroom (which is maybe okay given our toilet paper supply).

 

More than math problems, vocab tests, or book reports, prioritizing mental health is what will get our families through these tough times. 

 

Here are pointers to help you manage and enhance your child’s emotional well-being. 

 

1. News Flash! – Your Kids Are Stressed 😖😟 

What’s Happening: Your kids are going to kick each other for no reason, throw tantrums over dumb things, and make you repeat what you’ve asked them to do 50 times.

 

It’s okay. It’s not you or them. It’s the situation.

 

Given the circumstances, these behaviors really are a demonstration of anxiety and stress. They are expressing their feelings through their actions. When structure and consistency go out the door, it can trigger littles and bigs alike into these kinds of behaviors.

 

Ways to Deal: Don’t take these bad behaviors personally. Go easy on your kids and help them express themselves in a more acceptable way. 

 

Pro Tip:  Set limits firmly and kindly and reflect their feelings back to them. 

 

For example, “Looks like everyone may be feeling irritated and frustrated. How can we help each other? What do I need to do, and what can you do to help turn our day around?”

 

Crying child