Parent Tip of the Week: Mental Health (In English)
“NA-O-MI!” I bellowed from the kitchen, “What is WRONG with you? We don’t behave like that in this house!” I had just heard yelling and foot-stomping coming from the living room where, just a few minutes ago, Naomi had been playing independently with no problem at all. What could possibly have happened that sent her from zero to ten that quickly? I marched into the living room to see what the commotion was all about.
“I can’t get my doll into this stupid chair!” Naomi exclaimed, just before bursting into tears.
This is not the first time Naomi has had irrational responses to situations since we have been engaged in social distancing. There have been multiple episodes of yelling, stomping, throwing, and crying. Behaviors that were long ago corrected have resurfaced.
I knew Naomi missed her friends, as she had voiced that earlier in the week, but Ben and I had worked to keep structure and make her time at home fun and relaxing, shielding her from the ugliness of what is going on outside of the confines of our home. However, despite our best efforts, Naomi was still showing signs of anxiety, and she didn’t necessarily know how to handle these big feelings.
So what to do?
James 1:5 states, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you,” so I begin to pray and ask the Lord for
wisdom, because I, for one, have limited wisdom in knowing how to help my child live through a pandemic. I suspect that I am not alone in this—seeing my child struggling with her mood and behavior and not knowing the best way to parent during this time. My husband and I found that we needed to be intentional in addressing Naomi’s mental health. May I share some practical steps that can be taken to help our children through this difficult time that has worked well in our home?
Engage in social-emotional learning activities to help your children learn to self-regulate.
Provide opportunities for your children to be physically active. (View the article here.)
Connect with Friends
Give your children opportunities to connect with their friends. (View the article and resources here.)
Encourage your child to experiment with the arts . (View the article here.)
We have seen a positive shift in Naomi’s attitude and behavior since we started deliberately addressing her mental well-being. She still has sudden outbursts of anger, more tears than normal, and a less ideal attitude at times, but these episodes are getting fewer and further between.
Stay prayerful, friends. Together, we will get through this challenging time.
Note: Our weekly lessons provide links to different art projects and ideas for physical activity
*Images obtained from https://gozen.com/8-ways-a-childs-anxiety-shows-up-as-something-else/