COVID-19 undeniably causes an intense level of stress to people regardless of age. Children, however, have been observed to be most affected by the crisis in terms of mental health effects.
Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) revealed that starting in April 2020 and throughout October of the same year, mental health-related visits increased in pediatric emergency departments (EDs) across the country.
When placed alongside data from 2019, data showed that pediatric ED visits attributed to mental health problems among children in the 5-11 and 12-17 age brackets rose by 24 percent and 31 percent, respectively.
Additionally, results from a study published in the JAMA Psychiatry revealed that violence, overdoses, and suicide attempts also spiked last year compared to the previous year.
With such alarming data, parents like you should do everything needed to ensure that your family remains mentally stable and relaxed amid the raging pandemic. If you’re a bit unsure as to how to do that, here are six ways you should explore:
Maintain normalcy in the home by celebrating special family occasions
Your family’s life should not stop because of the pandemic. In fact, the ongoing crisis should be a reason to further celebrate special occasions in the family. Whether it’s your child’s birthday, your wedding anniversary, or anything else that has a special meaning to your family members, you should find time to celebrate the occasion.
It doesn’t need to be grand and you don’t have to go out. It can be as simple as cooking your favorite food and then dining together while casually discussing anything. The idea is to treat such milestones as reasons to hang on and look forward to the end of the pandemic.
Maintain comfortable indoor temperatures
You may not realize it, but how hot or cold your indoor temperature is can affect your mood for the day. As such, you should strive to keep temperatures inside the home within everybody’s comfort zone.
You can achieve this by hiring a professional heating and air conditioner repair and maintenance company to keep your HVAC system in perfect condition. You can have them visit your home for routine or scheduled maintenance or opt for an on-call basis instead.
Whichever way you choose, just make sure that your HVAC system won’t be neglected, so you can rely on it to keep your temperature indoors within comfortable levels.
Schedule regular productivity projects
All work and no play can make anyone dull. As such, be sure to schedule periodic breathers by embarking on small projects that you can do as a family.
Among other things, you should explore hydroponics or container gardening, so you can grow your own food that is guaranteed fresh and safe. You should also consider doing minor DIY home improvements such as building a treehouse or playpen for the kids.
By doing these kinds of projects, your family will not only be occupied in a great way, but you’ll also make productive use of your time. Ultimately, it would give you a sense of achievement that would help keep your mental health in great condition.
Don’t forget to reassure your family
If you’re the head of the family, you must maintain a stoic stance to give your family much-needed assurance. You should keep your composure amid difficult times and find ways to explain issues about your finances without causing panic among your family members.
Additionally, it would greatly help if you’ll schedule monthly talks as a family, during which each family member would be given chance to speak out his or her mind. This simple exercise would give you valuable insights into your family’s concerns and find ways to resolve them. It would likewise be an excellent means to peek into your individual family member’s mental and emotional state, so you’ll know when it’s time to seek professional help.
Establish and maintain routines.
Aside from your monthly huddles, you should establish and sustain other routines to make everyone feel that life goes on inside your home. By keeping a sense of normalcy amid a troubling time, you can prevent family members to feel anxious about developments in society, particularly those that are related to COVID-19.
You can try having exercise routines, weekly family cook fests, or semi-monthly yard and home cleanups. Whatever it is that you decide to keep on schedule, just make sure that it is something that your family will enjoy and participate in.
Stay connected with people who matter to you
Being stuck at home and not having the chance to see people they are close to can be quite unnerving for the kids and for you as a couple. With this, be sure to constantly hold video calls with your relatives and friends. Your kids should also be given the freedom to chat with their schoolmates and playmates whenever they feel like it.
Just follow these simple tips and you can easily weather the COVID-19 pandemic still intact as a family.