During this unknown and precarious time it is important to ensure we all address our worries or anxiety. The Pieta Clinical team have prepared tips on how to help your child manage theirs.
1. Normalise: Let your child know it is understandable to feel worried in times of uncertainty.
2. Empathise: Explore the anxious thoughts your child is having and acknowledge how upset these thoughts must be making them feel.
3. Inform: Share information from reliable sources in an age appropriate manner. Sensitively correct any misconceptions your child has.
4. Define: Help your child by exploring the differences between hypothetical ‘what if’ worries and practical worries that can be problem solved.
5. Problem Solve: Help your child to step by step problem solve practical worries. If your child is worried about not being able to see their grandparent help them create a list of their options to deal with this problem.
6. Postpone: Help your child let go of hypothetical ‘what if’ worries by moving their attention onto something they enjoy. Discuss postponing ‘what if’ worries about the future and dealing with worries based on the information we have now. If your child is worried about not returning to school this academic year, encourage them to postpone this worry until more information is available. When they know the facts, they can return to the worry and problem solve it.
7. Triggers: Pay attention to what keeps your child focused on their worries and try to reduce this. This might mean limiting how often you watch news updates or reducing how much time you spend discussing the Coronavirus.
8. Responsibility: Let your child know that the government and scientists are working very hard together to find solutions to our current difficulties. Help your child let go of any worries that aren’t their responsibility to sort out.
9. Positives: Help your child focus on the good aspects of spending more time at home.
10. Routine: In times of uncertainty creating a sense of normality through structure and predictability can have a hugely positive impact on a child’s anxiety levels.