These days everyone is juggling a lot of new routines and stresses. Over the past couple of weeks parents have had to become online tech experts, master schedulers and entertainment coordinators, while grappling with social isolation and for many, economic hardship.
It’s important to manage anxiety. The Child Mind Institute has stepped up with support for families on their COVID-19 Resource for Parents page, which includes daily Facebook Live chats with their experts.
And, I really liked this blog post on managing anxiety at home. Among the good tips it offers: “Plan to check in with younger children periodically and give them the chance to process any worries they may be having.” This is great advice and I’d add that we should strive to do this with children of all ages, including teenagers.
We’re seeing a lot of schools making efforts to foster social and emotional learning including adopting programs with explicit methods to help children manage moods and communicate their concerns better. A popular one we've seen used in many schools is called RULER by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.
At the heart of the RULER method are some core tools such as a charter, a student-created document that lays out how kids aspire to treat each other; and a mood meter, a chart that helps students identify and characterize their moods through color-coded labels. Here’s a short video explaining the mood meter.
Head over to www.rulerapproach.org to learn more and then try creating tools like these. Adopting some common language around emotions and anxiety may help everyone in your family communicate and manage moods better—especially in challenging times.
Take care and please share your ideas and experiences in the COMMENTS below.
Photo of children working at home courtesy of the Thurgood Marshall Academy.