Tag Archives: kids’ mental health

Four Things You Can Do Today to Help Your Child’s Mental Health

Whether you live in India, Finland, Canada, Britain or anywhere else — we’re all feeling the sting of self-isolation. Here are a few important and relatively quick ways you can help improve your children’s mental health.

boy child clouds kid

Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

  1. Move!

Sitting in a chair doing school work or on the couch using SnapChat all day isn’t healthy. Depending on their age, you can offer to sing silly songs or make up a song. You can do a TikTok dance, you can ask Alexa to play “workout songs” and do an indoor workout. This family has fancy outfits and a choreographer to design their dance but you can still make your own silly video!

And, if you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you definitely know how I feel about the importance of going outside.

woman wearing red dress jumping

Photo by Godisable Jacob on Pexels.com

2. Connect!

We’re all missing our friends, colleagues and/or extended families. For single parents or essential workers, life isn’t necessarily boring but it can be stressful and lonely. If your kids are missing their friends, grandparents, or cousins, there’s always social media of course.

But if you’re trying to get them offline – you could show them how to write a letter or poem. Some parents are using this time to teach their kids life skills, like laundry, dishes, garbage, etc. Depending on the age of your child, you could do something more fun like writing a handwritten letter, write the address on the envelope, put a stamp on it and put it in the mailbox. It might seem funny to some of us, but many children and even teens have never written a letter!

happy birthday card beside flower thread box and macaroons

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3.  Read!

Have you or your kids had a chance to read any new books (or re-read favourites) during the shut-down? Now that online school is on for many in different parts of the world, reading books may fall to the wayside.

I admit that even my reading has waned recently but I’ll get back at it this weekend. I am actually paying my kids (judge me if you must!) to read books during the pandemic. They have to be “real” books (not comics or magazines) but the topic and genre can be of their choosing.

Reading is an easy, low-cost, educational, fun way to pass the time – and increase imagination and comprehension at the same time.

couple reading books

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

4. Shut down!

Remember that it’s okay to shut down mentally, physically and literally (shut down your computer, your kids’ devices, the TV, etc.) at the end of the day or whenever makes sense) for you – and do something that takes your mind off of current events.

Sometimes the path of least resistance is best. So, if you and your kids like to ride bikes – do that (in a socially distanced manner of course!). If you prefer playing cards or listening to music, by all means! Maybe drawing or talking or just sitting quietly is best for everyone.

Whatever you do, remember that we don’t need to be watching the news online or on TV or the radio constantly; we can all use the time to sleep, dream and think.

What have you and your family been doing to stay healthy & sane? I’d love to know.

Yours in quiet solitude,

Lisa

Stress and the Working Mother – Q&A with Author Erin Flynn Jay

Erin Flynn Jay, author of Mastering the Mommy Track

Today I am pleased to post a Q&A with Erin Flynn Jay, author of Mastering the Mommy Track, which is hot off the presses! This interview gets at the (sometimes overlooked) aspect of mothers’ and kids’ mental health during difficult economic times.

Please note: some of the stats included in this interview (and in the book) pertain to American women only. However, much of the material – and sentiment – is universal.

Q) Chapter 1 is entitled Mental Health: I Am Overwhelmed – How Can I Cope? What surprised you most about the mental health of working mothers today?

A)  Many working moms are under tremendous pressure and are too stressed. Some have felt guilty for being employed while colleagues, friends or family members were laid off. Many of them are the primary breadwinners while their spouse or partner is unemployed, vying to get back in the workforce. They may carry guilt for not being able to spend more time with their children yet realize they need to work for financial reasons.

Q) How do you feel and/or what did you uncover about the impact of mothers’ stress on their children?

A) When we’re stressed, we have less patience and fewer emotional resources. This can render any mom vulnerable to using parenting strategies they might not normally employ. Child abuse increases during economic downturns. Moms and dads must pay attention to their emotional responses to their children. When you are stressed, your children will know it and will act out more often and more extremely. Children know when you feel guilt because you give in more easily and are less consistent. If you don’t want these challenging behaviours, you need to spend more time with their children.

Q) What’s the number one thing you can suggest for stressed out families?

A)  Keep your cool at home! Based on my interviews with psychologists, here are some tips to help you:

  • Slow down after work. Spend some time with your children, even if it is just 20 minutes before you get dinner prepared and cooked. Appreciate the small moments you have.
  • Set the proper example. Children look up to parents and follow their role. Make sure you aren’t yelling at your kids over spilling snacks or drawing on the wall.
  • Give yourself some credit. Commend yourself for getting through each hectic day. No one is perfect. You won’t get every project finished on time. Do your best each day and realize the rest will have to wait until tomorrow. Don’t be too tough on yourself – it’s okay to make mistakes. Let your children know it’s okay for them to also make mistakes.

Q) How has researching and writing this book changed your perspective on today’s working mother?

A)  I did an interview with AdvisorOne recently and spoke about how working moms are feeling the pressure from their roles of breadwinner and caregiver. It’s this pressure on moms nationwide–and the economic downturn–that motivated me to write this book… [In a recent study it was noted that] Employers will choose a dad over a mom because they fear that moms won’t be as available or committed to the job, said study co-author Michelle Moroto, an assistant professor in the sociology department at the University of Alberta. This is so unfortunate.

Q) Does the old adage, “it’s not quantity, it’s quality” in regard to time spent with children still hold true?

A) Yes, quality is paramount. Moms, don’t be so preoccupied with work or your career that you miss out on quality time with your kids. Ditch the smart phone for an hour or two each weekday so you can play with your kids or read to them. Limit the amount of TV they watch, and strive for quality interactions. Make the weekends extra special—take them on family outings to local parks, museums or excursions. Ask them what is going on at school, and they will tell you. Evaluate their current daycare or preschool program to make sure it’s the best fit for them and they are happy.

Q) Anything else you’d like to add in regard to your book and the topic of children’s mental health?

A) My research turned up a disturbing fact. With such intense pressure on career moms, many are turning to alcohol or drugs to calm frayed nerves. A November 2010 article in Working Mother magazine cites statistics that stress may drive more mothers to drink or abuse drugs. The article profiles women who suffer from alcohol and other addictions. Of those responding to the magazine survey, 40 percent say they drink to cope with stress, and 57 percent say they’ve misused prescription drugs.

Moms need to seek professional help or express concerns about a person they care about before it’s too late.

Erin Flynn Jay is a writer and publicity expert. She received a B.A. in Communication from the University of Scranton in PA and lives in Philadelphia with her family. You can order Mastering the Mommy Track at Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/PWThUb .