MakatiMed’s Section of Psychiatry says you and your children will get through these tough times together
While COVID-19’s impact on adults is inevitable—grownups, after all, deal directly with loss of income, fear of infection, long-term social isolation, and grief from losing loved ones to the coronavirus—children are just as affected. Quarantine guidelines imposed by the government prohibit those aged 17 and below from going out of their homes—thus disrupting daily routines like attending school and playing outdoors. Strict social distancing measures force kids to keep masks on and limit, if not avoid, physical contact with family members and friends.
“Seeing their parents stressed, frustrated, and mentally exhausted from the effects of the pandemic only fuels their worry and fears,” says Anna Josefina Vazquez-Genuino, MD, Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist at the Section of Psychiatry in Makati Medical Center (MakatiMed), a top hospital in the Philippines. Unlike adults who have experience dealing with stressful situations, children do not, so they tend to act out by being cranky, rude, overly quiet, or sensitive. “Watch out for red flags like insomnia or oversleeping, eating too much or too little, body aches and pains, keeping to oneself for days, and clinging to parents when they leave the house for work or errands,” adds Dr. Vazquez-Genuino.
Granted, these unprecedented times can leave anyone, regardless of age, overwhelmed. “But once you give yourself a break and remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can, you can be a source of stability and security for your children in these trying times,” says Dr. Vazquez-Genuino.
Here are practical ways parents can support their children’s mental health and wellbeing during this pandemic:
Respect what they have to say
This is not the time to dismiss the feelings of the younger people in the household or scold them, says Dr. Vazquez-Genuino. “Encourage them to say their piece and assure them that you will get through this pandemic together,” she adds. Kids need to feel valued and feel validated; they need to be reassured about their fears; if it’s something unrealistic, explain to them what can be done to resolve or allay them.
Limit gadget time
This pandemic has allowed families to be together; thus, we might as well grab it to do enjoyable things together and do various activities. From sharing stories, playing games – computer, board, or physically active – to zoom parties, watching movies, and outdoor activities.
Introduce new and fun activities
Cheer up a dreary home atmosphere with animated storytelling, videoke nights, and lively board games. Fill up lulls in the day by teaching kids how to cook, do the laundry, develop their interest in taking care of plants, or organize their study area. “This takes their mind off their worries and gives them the social interaction they’re looking for,” Dr. Vazquez-Genuino explains.
Start healthy habits
In this pandemic, it’s essential to stay healthy and strong against the virus. “Maintain nutritious food like fruits and vegetables during mealtimes, and cut down on junk food,” she advises. “Get everybody moving by dancing or following exercise videos. Make sure everybody gets morning sun exposure and enough sleep at night.”
Give them hope
“When times are uncertain, give your kids something to look forward to,” says Dr. Vazquez-Genuino. “Ask them about their dreams and what they would like to do once quarantine rules are relaxed. Map out achievable and realistic plans and agree on a timeline. It is the least of our goals to let our kids be disappointed because of unfulfilled dreams and plans.”
Ask for help
Feeling sad with the thought of wanting to hurt themselves or overly anxious to the point that they no longer wish to engage in previously enjoyed activities, as well as sleep and appetite changes, may indicate a need to seek professional help. Difficulty in concentrating and deterioration in academic interests or performance may be another red flag. Instead of thinking the child is just lazy, hardheaded, or manipulative, find out first what is bothering your child with love, patience, a calm mood, and a listening ear. Trust your parental instinct and read up on typical child development and common problems encountered, especially during this pandemic.
“If all else fails or you are still in a quandary regarding your children, then you may consider seeking professional help via online consultations,” says Dr. Vazquez-Genuino. While psychiatrists and other mental health professionals are trained to get to the root of your child’s problems, they cannot replace what parents can give.
“Assure your child of your acceptance of them regardless of what they are going through or how they are behaving and ask them if they are willing to see a mental health professional, explaining to them that seeking professional help or advice is nothing to be ashamed of, but rather the first step to getting better,” says Dr. Vazquez-Genuino.
Momi Berlin Directory
Agree po dito momi berlin during this time it is important to communicate with our children for us to know how they feel about our current situation so we can further guide them cope with it.
Our kids really matters, whether in a pandemic situation or not ,giving extra effort to make them comfortable.This is really helpful as a mom ,Il take this into consideration.
Tayong mga magulang ang magbibigay ng mga pag gabay at mga suporta sa ating mga anak ngayong pandemya dahil sila rin ay naapektuhan. Kaya thank you po mommy berlin for sharing this po para makatulong sa aming mga mommies kung ano po ang dapat gawin sa aming mga kids.
Napakahirap nga po NG naging sitwasyon nating lahat simula nung nag pandemic,, Yung mga anak ko hirap ipaliwanag Kung bakit bawal lumabas ,, syempre Bata gusto maglaro sa labas, naiinip sa loob NG bahay, buti na Lang paunti until naiintindihan nila. Halos nasanay na din sila.
Importante talaga momi meron activity ang mga kids para hindi po cla mainip at ma stress gayundin ang pag papaunawa s kanila n matatapos din itong pandemic n ito
Very helpful po netong shinare mo momi Berlin.Thank you po.Tayong mga adults nga po hirap tanggapin yong ganetong situation pano pa po kaya yong mga kids natin.Kaya dapat po talaga na mas more support pa po yong ibibigay natin sakanila.Yes we need to give them some activities na mag eenjoy po sila yong hindi nila maiisipan na may ganetong ngyayari sa mundo natin.More bonding and with them.Kasi akala natin okay lang sakanila yong mga nangyayari pero matami yan silang tanong kaya mas better po na kakausapin natin sila.
Madami silang tanung bakit bawal lumabas, hindi daw sila nkakapasyal, lage nila sina sabi pg ok na ang lahat makakapasyal din sila sa sm. Mkakapasok sa school, always healthy food naman sila pero minsan khit healthy na lahat ngkakasakit pa din, thank you for sharing momi berlin
Such an informative topic mommi Berlin. Communication is the way to do to our little ones pag ganitong mga situation . Sa amin po since a anak ko ay baby pa house lang talaga ang bonding place namin. D kami naglalabas nung 1st Yr ng covid but now po pumunta na kami ng church every may simba kami. So far yan lang ang mga kadalasan naming pinupuntahan
Thank you for sharing this po . I’ve learned a lot po through this blog. Magagamit ko po mga nabasa at natutunan ko Sa anak at pamangkin ko ..
Sobrang hirap mommy,Di nila naiintindihan anu pangyayari sa labas.Siguro nagtataka na din sila bakit daming bawal..Ako kay 4yo LO,sinasabihan ko na bawal sa labas kasi may virus ,.Maliwanang naman po sa kanya kaya dito nalang muna sa bahay.Sana makaraos na tyo sa pandemyang ito..Thamks for the tips Mommy Berlin..
Ganda ng tips na ito momi kami po una nahirapan pero ginawa namin ni hubbt analiw sya sa laro ng toys,sa pag babasa ng books at sa pag lalaro namin sa kanya ni papa nya pata hindi nya mapansin ang pag daan ng mga araw na nakakulong lang sya sa bahay
Very helpful ng mga tips na ito momi..Ako bilang isang magulang i’ll make sure na yung mga anak ko meron pagkakalibangan na iba para duon mabaling ang kanilang atensyon..hirap talaga pero sa pagdaan ng mga araw2x..unti-unti din nalalagpasan.
All this time, were still cooing om pandemic crisis and buti na Lang naiintindihan yun ng mga kids ko. Kaya naman need pa din natin silang iguide kahit nasa loob kng sila ng bahay madami pa din silang pwedeng gawin. My little one alam na niya ang duties and responsibilities niya naasahan ko na sa pagtutupi ng mga damit and sya na din maglalagay sa mga closet and cabinet. Nakakatywa kasi daming natutunan during this pandemic, ang free time nman nagpapractice magdrawing and minsan lng mag computer games every Saturday and Sunday at 1 hour only. My 2nd child nakakatulong ko na dun sa paglalaba, minsan taga sampay n lng ako. Marami silang learnings and additional activities. Thanks for. Sharing this momi.
Minsan nakakaramdam nang inip kaya minsan nakikipag harutan po ako sakanya bibili sa tindahan bibili nang ice cream na nasa stick, or sasama sya sa bundok masaya daw po kasi dun maraming puno daig pa nga po ako umakyat, kasama po mga byenan ko.. tatanim po kasi sila dun, or minsan punta po ako sa mama ko isang sakay lang naman po.. matatapos din itong mga pagsubok in jesus name.
Thank you for sharing this tips momi berlin.. Guilty ako sa gadget time kasi now that im working from 8am -5pm malakas tlga sila magadget. Gusto ko i limit un time nila sa gadet. Sinasabihan at binibgyan ko sila ng activity na gagawin nila. Balance nmn ang foods nila. I encourage them to do fun activities♥️