Parents of young children, we are here for you! In this time of uncertainty, we know you are faced with a host of changes to daily life and routine. But rest assured, as a parenting intervention researcher and therapist, I want to share with you some fabulous insights on the positive outcomes that a stay-at-home order can produce for you and your children during this time. Knowing that you can promote continued health and wellness for your child(ren), I pray, will give you the strength and motivation to keep going. Here are some great reminders of what you are already doing to promote positive outcomes for your littles:
First, know that this is a sacred time to promote positive child emotional and behavioral outcomes. For instance, recent research on parent-child interaction patterns demonstrate that the number one remedy to child emotional/behavioral challenges is quality time with their loved ones, and most importantly, their attachment figures—aka, you! By carving out dinner times together, going on walks (while practicing that social distancing, of course) and engaging in their everyday play and activities, they grow in their security and trust with you. Attachment researchers also note that secure bonds are fostered in the most mundane of daily tasks, such as teaching them to follow a routine chart, engaging in their imaginative play, and have conversations with them about what they find interesting and important to them. Many children these days are bombarded with long days at school, followed by after school activities and the like. But what you are doing is what most matters in the hearts and minds of our precious little ones!
Secondly, you are nourishing the mental, spiritual, and psychological health your child(ren) right now. Children, like adults, also need breaks, vacation, and a time to rest and recuperate. Yes, school is important, but now is the time to support their understanding of caring for their bodies, their minds and their little souls. Promoting activities around mental health management, like learning how to cope through anxiety and stress, is one fabulous way to train your children to face hardship well. How can you teach your children to take deep breaths? To meditate on God’s word? To exercise and take in the fresh air? Any creative idea to cope will do!
Finally, I know the day-to-day changes may stress the nerves and anxieties further, but just by you being there for them, having a positive and cheerful disposition, and holding hope that all will be well, is fantastic modeling on how to weather storms. In fact, social learning theory tells us that it is not so much what a parent says, but what they do-in action and real time, that trains the hearts and minds of our little ones, in the direction of trust in the Lord. They are watching how we respond to this, and by your own modeling, our children rest assured that they too will weather storms well because mommy and daddy showed them how.
So hang tight, our strong and courageous parents! We admire, love, and respect you for all that you do! If you need counseling to support you through this time, please contact us, and we would be happy to assist you via online counseling!
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