Blog Article: Young Children Have Feelings, Too
Tuesday, 28 April 2020
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We can help our youngsters lead an emotionally healthy life.
By Liliane Alam
As we near the end of two months of lockdown in Lebanon imposed by the effects of Coronavirus, let us turn our minds to our youngsters at home with us. Their whole world has been turned upside down. Everything they have ever known has been put aside for something foreign; their normal daily routines disrupted and replaced by random goings-on. They do not see their teachers face-to-face in a school environment any more. They do not play with their classmates any longer. Indeed, family members are the only people coming into continuous daily contact with them.
As adults, we have great concerns for the health and safety of our families. We are having a hard enough time wrapping our minds around what is happening. It can be no different for young children. Doubtless, it is even more difficult, given their limited vocabulary. Children may turn to physical violence and use of bad words in their frustration and inability to express themselves. We must remind them that hurting themselves or others does not solve anything. On the contrary, it raises more issues of concern. The mental health and well-being of our children is of paramount importance.
Naturally, it is normal to have mood swings varying between feeling optimistic one day and truly upset the next. Our counsellors at Brummana High School, who remain available during the pandemic through their Online Counselling Service provision (OCoS), are one way we can help our youngsters express themselves. We, as parents, can also aid them in other ways. The following are just a few suggestions.
We can ask them to choose a family member they feel comfortable talking to whom they can call whenever necessary. It could be a grandparent, an aunt, uncle, or a cousin. It could be a neighbour or any other adult whom our children feel at ease with.
Virtual online classes are going very well and we can use these online platforms to set up video or audio chats for our children with their close friends. Just be sure to keep an eye (and an ear) out for inappropriate or harmful chat.
We can find virtual classes of a different type online: physical activity classes, yoga, dance, instrumental, arts and craft. The possibilities are endless. Just find out what your child is interested in and get started. At BHS we have established a number of challenges each week for the community, ranging from Makerspace activities to PE and Arts, which many children are enjoying engaging with.
Many children find comfort in drawing pictures or writing down their feelings. There are a few child-appropriate websites on the Internet that deal with the feelings of young children. Some provide workbooks or activities that can be downloaded or printed which children can fill in and find a sense of comfort in. Here is a particularly good one and it is available for download here: http://teacher.scholastic.com/education/pdfs/FirstAidForFeelings_Eng.pdf
We should remind our children that many people in our community are doing their utmost to keep us safe and that this strange unpleasantness will all come to an end one day. Make a plan with your children of all the things you will do with them when this enforced confinement ends.
It is very important that we keep a positive attitude in our household and avoid involving our young children in our adult problems. They need to find a solid pillar in us, which they can lean on and come to when necessary.
God bless you and keep you safe.