Overly worried about your child's health and Coronavirus?
The pandemic that is Coronavirus (COVID-19) is growing and local cases will increase over the forthcoming weeks.
Conflicting opinions and advice about what are the right things to currently do can leave us feeling more confused than ever e.g. take the kids out of school? Don’t take the kids out of school? Some people are even though the government says it's ok for schools to be open.
As parents, this can increase our anxiety about our children’s health and about how to keep them as safe as possible during this time.
Parental anxiety for our children is one of the most commonly reported symptoms for parents affected by trauma. This week, I have received a few enquiries about how we can manage this in our current environment.
Here are some simple tips that you can put into place to help reduce stress and anxiety around your children and Coronavirus:
😷 Coronavirus and Children – what is the risk?
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention children do not appear to be at a higher risk than adults.
• Adults make up the majority of Coronavirus cases.
• Symptoms in children are the same as in adults.
• Children do not need to wear face masks.
• Teach and encourage your children to follow the same hygiene safety guidelines.
🌼 Put things in perspective
Most things that we’re worried about probably will not happen. So instead of focusing on the ‘what ifs’, realise that many problems are temporary and that your child’s life is really a journey, rather than a series of small events.
🌼 Think the worst…just for a second
By asking yourself how realistic the worst-case scenario is, you’ll most likely realize that you’re thinking in an exaggerated way, according to Karol Ward, a licensed clinical social worker and author of Worried Sick: Break Free from Chronic Worry to Achieve Mental and Physical Health.
🌼 Take action
“You worry a lot when you feel like life is out of control,” Carlson said, adding that you can solve your worry by having a plan or strategy for addressing the problem. So, if you identify what the problem really is, why you’re worried about it and ways you can change it, your worry will most likely subside.
🌼 Let it simmer
If a problem needs your immediate attention, by all means, tackle it but sometimes putting your worries on the backburner to simmer is the best way to handle it, the solution will ultimately come to you.
🌼 Breathe, meditate, or relax
When you’re stressed, you’re less likely to come up with the best solution. Plus, you won’t be able to stop worrying if you’re physically and mentally in a state of stress. But by taking five minutes to breathe deeply, meditate or practice progressive muscle relaxation techniques, you’ll be able to relax and get the clarity you need to move forward.
Another common breathing technique is known as the 4-7-8 technique. You can read about it at https://buff.ly/2QdmgY4
Try some of these out and see what works for you. Seriously, they can work so give them a chance to help you. Make sure you practice when you are calm so you can easily put the technique into practice when you need to.
🌼 Give up control
Sometimes there isn’t a clear-cut solution or you simply need to allow your child to figure it out for himself. Letting go is such a huge undertaking for most people. You can’t always rescue them. You have to see your job more as a guide than anything else.”
There is a tendency to try to interpret everything through the filter of the mum. So, when dealing with worry, it’s important to take a step back and decide if you’re projecting your feelings on your child or if this is actually something to worry about.
News of abductions, shootings, and sexual abuse scandals are enough to put any parent on edge. Plus, if you’re constantly reading and researching, you’re trying to stay on top of your anxiety, which isn’t realistic.
“If you over-saturate yourself, and are constantly trying to anticipate every disaster coming down the pike, then you’re going to be in a constant state of anxiety all the time,” Ward said. So, limit the amount of media you consume on a daily basis and you’ll be less stressed out.
Exercise not only releases tension and those feel-good endorphins, it also disrupts the repetitive thoughts that can consume your mind.
🌼 Get support
Sometimes talking to other, more experienced parents who are level-headed can help you work through some of your angst. (Adapted from Julie Relevant, Fox News)