Independence Blue Cross #mindPHL Wellness Corner: Connecting with Friends and Family
Communication is key to every family’s emotional wellness. The Children’s Crisis Treatment Center offers tips for reassuring and connecting with children.
Model self-care this holiday weekend and beyond.
Humans are social beings: We crave feeling supported, valued and connected. For most families, the last few months have been stressful. From the isolation and separation of the COVID-19 pandemic to social upheaval and unprecedented economic conditions, we are all facing new and often anxiety-inducing challenges.
How are children impacted by exposure to these upsetting events?
“Kids are impacted by what they hear,” says Julie Campbell, Coordinator of Trauma-Focused Projects and Trauma Services Director at Children’s Crisis Treatment Center, “so it’s important to model self-care and to keep the conversation going in everyday ways.”
Here’s how adults can create safe, reassuring spaces for children in turbulent times:
Encourage open conversation. Staying silent about something children have already heard about can cause more anxiety.
Answer questions as honestly as possible in language that’s appropriate for the child’s age. Pause and listen carefully to what a child’s thoughts and worries are. This will guide how you respond.
Model self-care, which is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it’s a simple concept in theory, it’s something we very often overlook. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. One of the best ways adults can support children’s self-care is to maintain positive routines around mealtimes, bedtime, and play.
Celebrating holidays can help provide a sense of connection that reinforces mental health. Families tend to have traditions, so even if you are social distancing, you can still enjoy your usual holiday foods, watch holiday programming, and get outside and play together.
The bottom line? “Assure children – and all family members – that you are there for them, and that you will all ‘be there’ for each other, no matter what,” says Campbell.