This last year has proven to be tough on our mental health.
As a parent I've tried to protect my children throughout this pandemic. I've kept them safe at home, I've bought masks , hand gel etc but was this enough?
Unfortunately cases of anxiety and distress in children is on the rise now and this is being caused by an almost constant diet of scary stories on the news/internet, isolation from school friends , children being home with family hear and feel the tension the pandemic has created.
For many of the children they will be experiencing more vivid dreams during this time, interrupted sleep, issues around appetite and so-on which are all classic signs of distress.
Something to look out for with children under 15 years old is a protection layer , this is when a child hides how they're feeling to protect their family. They can see the amount of pressure already worrying their family that they don't want to add to.
Your child could be showing signs of being withdrawn from family , school and friends. They could also be displaying poor behaviour choices, and could even be showing signs of regressing back to a younger age.
Teenagers can display distress through disconnection and through avoidance. I recommend that teens who seem to care , or those who don't want to talk about how they're feeling would benefit from journaling their thoughts and feelings. Please don't put additional stress on teens who aren't ready to open up.
You can help your child by ensuring that they feel safe, keeping a healthy routine, and helping them manage their own emotions and behaviour by being positive at home. I know that might seem tough, I have three children at home while I'm still working so I get positivity can seem like another thing you're expected to be able to do, even when you're not feeling positive.
Try starting with a big deep breath and allow yourself to have a moment. Take that moment to think about the positive things that are happening around you. Use the positive feelings to create positive energy to fuel yourself back up ready to release to your children.
Always remember that you can't pour from an empty cup.
Take care of yourself.