It is normal for parents and children to feel anxious in these uncertain times. We do not know when or how things will transpire. To manage these feelings, we often seek more information via the media, or engage in debates or discussions about the future. This can prove overwhelming for the children surrounding us.
While it is important to have open and honest conversations with adolescents about what is happening, it is essential that we help them keep things in perspective. Their frontal lobes are still developing, thus they can overestimate the danger and struggle to remind themselves of the facts of the situation.
Please consider the following ideas as you support your children over the coming months:
- Take time to talk to your children about what is happening, provide accurate information (e.g. your family will not run out of food, medical and scientific experts around the world are following strict protocols to contain the virus and develop a vaccine, and are making great progress) and reassure them that they are safe.
- Allow space to normalise your children’s feelings about COVID-19, which may include worry, fear, anxiety, sadness, stress, or irritability.
- Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, especially social media.
- Try to maintain your usual family routines in the face of other changes (e.g. working from home)—this will provide a calm and settled home routine for your children.
- Encourage your daughter to maintain appropriate social contact with her peers, engage in regular exercise, eat well and get as much sleep as possible.
- Role model good self-care for your family—wash your hands regularly, eat and sleep well, remain physically active and connect with your social support network.
- Engage with your own support network so that you are able contain any worries or fears that you might have so that these do not impact your children.
School counselling services will be available for all Girls Grammar families for the remainder of Term 1 and Easter holidays. We are able to provide email or phone support. Please email GGCounsellors@bggs.qld.edu.au for further information.
Other useful resources include:
- Managing anxiety and stress
- Five ways to help teens manage anxiety about the Coronavirus
- Looking after the mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak
- Coronavirus: psychologist offer advice for maintaining positive mental health
- Tips for coping with Coronavirus anxiety