23 Jul Balancing You and Your Child’s Mental Health During the Age of COVID
Let’s address one of the least talked about things right now: how the quarantine and ever-changing school schedules affect mental health. This is a very uncommon time as children around the country have to face unusual amounts of screen time, interaction with their parents during school hours, and more. Add that on top of parents getting stressed about the upcoming school year and the uncertainty of their working conditions, and you have a recipe for a lot of unhealthy coping mechanisms.
All three Continuum Pediatricians are mothers first, so we want you to know that we understand your frustrations, and our hearts are with you as we navigate this crazy landscape. But as parents, we also want to reiterate that your concerns, thoughts, and feelings as an adult can be unknowingly projected onto your child in unfavorable ways such as tonal shifts, avoidance, etc. While it’s normal for us to get frustrated, take comfort in knowing that your kids may not be feeling the weight of what is happening. A two-year-old is “missing” daycare, sure, but probably not for the reasons you think. Luckily, children at this age are not really missing out on social skills. However, every child is going to have some different needs.
For example, daycare aged children are not missing out on socializing with their peers when the facility is closed. Still, they do need a lot of playtime from parents, which can be very frustrating, or even exhausting, when a parent may be trying to work from home and take care of a three-year-old at the same time. On the reverse of that with older kids, you may have to manage the frustration over not getting to see friends or participate in the same activities that they may use to, such as sports, band, theater, etc.
So, Is Screen Time Going to Help or Hurt?
Every pediatrician has gotten a lot laxer in terms of thoughts on the screen time topic because, unfortunately, it’s a necessity right now. Let’s be honest; an extra hour of Facetime or gaming is not going to hurt anybody. The ability to have a conversation either “face-to-face” via phone or on a headset with a school-age friend or other adolescent can be beneficial to maintain a sense of normalcy. Bonus – that extra hour may even give you time to take a breath and meditate or get some of your work done. Regardless of how you’re spending this time, acknowledge the feelings you’re having and stay positive, knowing that someday things will go back to normal.
We understand that these times can be frustrating and stressful, so know that the team at Continuum Pediatrics is enthusiastic about helping you and your family get through it. If you have concerns about how stress can impact your child, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment by calling 817.617.8600