Our life suddenly changed with the advent of what experts called SARS-CoV-2 or as you and I fondly know it: COVID19. This virus not only affected the physical health of millions of people around the world, but it also influenced our society, our culture and especially our emotional health.

How can we know if our boys or girls could be experiencing emotional disturbances due to the pandemic?

Although it can take the form of anger or crying, the signs of anxiety can vary according to the age, personality and environment of the child. If we are good observers we can identify several signs, such as: alterations in the sleep pattern, alterations in the eating pattern, catastrophic thinking, overcompensation (they seek to please in everything, they want to be noticed), anger, nocturnal enuresis, sadness or crying, “mamitis” or “papitis” and somatizations (stomach pain, hives, etc).

Knowing all these factors that could arise (and that it is possible that from reading so much we already feel anxiety due to the anxiety that others have), let’s focus on the solutions. But before doing anything for others, I invite you to do a self-examination of your own emotional situation.

  • It is important that you manage your emotions correctly; not repressing them or avoiding uncomfortable situations, but looking for a way to feel and project good emotional health.

  • Take time during the day to breathe, do muscle relaxation exercises, read a good book, talk with your spouse or a trusted person about how you feel.

  • Communication with your child (ren) is also extremely important. Allow them to express feelings such as fear, overwhelmed, or boredom. Not talking about feelings can foster an avoidant coping style in them. Know what the catalysts or “triggers” of your child’s anxiety or anger are and teach him how to cope.

  • It is also important to respect differences in perception of circumstances. What can cause a lot of stress for some, others handle it very well. Remember that God has given each of us different talents and abilities, so we must understand those who are easily overwhelmed. For some children, words of affirmation work better, others prefer actions. Get to know them and show them your love according to their need.
  • Another suggestion is to seek inspiration together as a family. Share in devotional times or post a weekly verse on the refrigerator, post motivational phrases where they are easy to read, encourage each other.
  • One of the most forgotten tools for life is usually the simplest: learning how to clean a house, how to cook, how to use a washing machine. Take advantage of this time at home to teach them these skills that will serve them later, and in the process get them to help you around the house, thus easing the burden that usually falls on just one person.

  • Practice with your children what some call “the miracle hour”, consisting of 3 activities lasting 20 minutes each. It could be 20 minutes of exercise, 20 of reading, and 20 of relaxation. Find the combination that suits your child the most, it can include games, paintings, crafts, etc.

My dear readers, all these advice would be in vain if we forget the One from whom our help comes, who is our guardian from now on and forever. Deposit in Him all your anxieties, fears and needs, and if you do not know how to look for Him, ask someone close to you how you can place your trust and faith in God through Jesus Christ.

If you have any questions on this matter, please write to me at ruth.henriquez@pinares.org

Ruth Henríquez
ALP Elementary Counselor