Parenting is a tough job – throw in all that 2020 has offered, and it can feel nearly impossible. During Train the Brain, we've discussed coping strategies for the fear and anxiety that many of us feel this year. Many parents are managing these emotions while also tending to the worries and fears of their children, which can be overwhelming.
So, how can parents/guardians help themselves and their kids cope? Here are some ideas:
- Acknowledge their struggles in front of their kids. This is difficult and might feel uncomfortable, but by sharing the way they are feeling, parents are modeling healthy behavior. Children are perceptive and can already tell when something is wrong, so teach them that it’s okay to talk about it!
- Use age-appropriate words when talking about mental health. Depending on the age of the child, words like “anxiety” and “depression” might be hard to understand. For younger kids, “sad” and “scared” might be better choices.
- Practice Self-Care. Parents often think that they need to put their kids before themselves, always. But, it’s really hard to be unwell and fully present for a child. Parents: It’s not selfish to take care of yourself first. Call a friend, take a long bath, take time off work, listen to music or talk to a therapist. Your children are always watching, so model the self-care behaviors that you want them to mimic throughout their lives.