Between losing economic security, learning how to homeschool, and staying home more often than not, families across the country are learning to face new challenges every day.
In a previous post, we provided you with a few tips for helping your child adjust to the new “normal” and cope with the many hardships brought on by COVID-19. We discussed the importance of staying calm, how to explain social distancing, why routines matter, and how to pivot to positivity in the midst of uncertainty. In today’s post, we’re going to take the conversation a step further and give you easy-to-implement tips you can use to help your child cope in the coming weeks and months.
Fairell Roy & Associates’ family law attorneys are here to help you and your family through this time. If you would like to speak to someone about filing for divorce, child custody, or child support, please reach out to our office for a virtual consultation. We are also going live on Facebook several times each week for Q&A sessions and provide the opportunity for viewers to ask anonymous questions.
Limit Screen Time
Many parents have noticed an increase in their children’s screen time due to activities being canceled and postponed. You might even be watching more television and scrolling through social media more often yourself.
While it can be easy to let your child use their phone, tablet, computer, or television for longer than normal because you’re working from home or aren’t sure how to entertain them, you should still set reasonable limits.
You should also monitor what your child is doing during their allotted screen time. Some activities, like spending hours on social media, can be more damaging to your child’s psychological health than watching a few hours of Netflix. In fact, many studies show that continuous exposure to negative media and anxiety-providing updates can actually cause traumatic responses in children and adults. Moreover, many news outlets gear their stories toward adults and may be particularly confusing or disturbing to young viewers.
Make Time to Talk
Coping isn’t a destination. It’s a process. It’s an ongoing process that takes time, and you should make time each week to ask your child how they’re feeling. If they don’t have anything to share, that’s fine. If they’re curious about recent developments, give them as much information as you can without going into graphic detail. Above all else, allowing your child to steer the conversation gives them a sense of control in a time when almost everything is out of our control. This, in turn, can reduce anxiety and help them stay forward-thinking.
Watch Their Mental Health
While all of the tips we’ve discussed can make a significant difference in how your child responds to the changes in their life, some children may be more negatively affected than others. Some of the signs you should watch for include:
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Physical aggression
- Poor concentration
- Reduced or increased appetite
- Loss of interest in activities they usually enjoy
Please note that this list is not exhaustive. Stress, depression, and trauma manifest differently in everyone. You know your child better than anyone else, and they may exhibit other kinds of behavioral changes as they try to process what’s happening.
If you notice these symptoms or a significant change in your child’s behavior for more than two weeks, consider reaching out to a professional for advice. Many doctors and mental health professionals are offering telehealth appointments at reduced rates.
Contact a Family Law Attorney If You Need Assistance
We hope that this two-part series will help you and your household through this difficult time. We regularly post on the Fairell Roy & Associates blog page, and we recommend bookmarking the site to keep up with all of the latest information.
As we noted at the beginning of this post, we are currently going live on Facebook several times each week to answer your questions about topics such as child support, custody, and divorce in the midst of the societal changes caused by COVID-19.
If you need to speak directly to a family law attorney about your circumstances, get in touch with us for a consultation.