We have all experienced a change in our everyday life in some form or another. Some more than others. For youth, they may have experienced a disruption in school or change in the way they are interacting in the classroom, along with social engagements with their peers. It’s important to stay aware of how youth are feeling with the change and disruptions they have experienced this past year.
Our environments can play an important role in supporting resiliency to childhood adversity. Youth can notice and react to stress in their parents, caregivers, and peers. Here are some ways to help youth adapt and to help support their emotional well-being:
Show empathy. It’s important to note a child’s response to a stressful event can vary. Some may demand attention, have difficulty with self-care, or struggle with sleeping or eating.
Provide consistency through support. It’s important for a child to have a supportive, caring adult in their life.
Practice the 3 R’s: Reassurance, Routines, and Regulation. Reassure your child they are safe. Maintain a routine with your child. Help support the development of regulation, by validating their feelings.
Find opportunities for social connectedness. Although we are social distancing finding ways to stay connected with others is important. Whether it be via Zoom, Facetime, or online platforms with their peers, finding quality time can be helpful for your child.
Provide information. If you choose to share information with your child about the pandemic, find age-appropriate books, websites, or activities on COVID-19. This could help them to understand it better, and not rely on their imagination.
Embrace optimism. It’s important your child feels safe, secure, and positive about their future. Talk with your child about stories of how people have come together during the pandemic and have overcome adversity.
This year has been a year of adapting and change. As a parent or caregiver, it’s also important for you to take care of your emotional well-being as well. Remember to give yourself grace during this time. If you are feeling overwhelmed take time for you, try out some of these tips for yourself, and remember to allow yourself time for self-care.
Jill Haupts, Outreach Coordinator for The Kim Foundation
Jill Haupts is the Outreach Coordinator at The Kim Foundation. She received her bachelor’s degree in Child, Adult, and Family Services from Iowa State University in 2016. Jill joined the Kim Foundation in January coming from Des Moines, Iowa. Her previous experience includes volunteer recruitment and fundraising, as well as experience coordinating services and providing resources to adults who have a mental health diagnosis. Jill’s role in the foundation is coordinating event logistics, presenting and attending community fairs, as well as volunteer coordination and recruitment. She enjoys working in the nonprofit field and has a passion for advocacy and helping others.