The latest episode in our Resilience Unravelled series has now been released, Resilience Unravelled – Mindsets to support children through COVID-19.
In this episode, Dr. Russell Thackeray talks to Dr. Christine Adams, MD, a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist who has practiced in Louisville, Kentucky for over forty years. Her work there involves long-term dynamic psychotherapy to help resolve anxiety and depression issues.
In this podcast, Dr Adams talks about the work she has been doing on children’s mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The potential mental health risks for children include anxiety, depression, loneliness and not being able to see their friends. These are all things adults can find just as problematic. As children can pick up on their parents behaviour and mimic it, adults need to pay attention to their own mental health.
Parents need to be engaged so they are aware of the things to look out for. Hardship builds resilience. If something is blocking you from achieving something you think of ways to get around it. Children are exactly the same. They come up with something new and from that will start to build resilience which they can then apply to situations in adult life.
Dr Adams has developed seven mindsets to support children during a quarantine period or lockdown. These are:
- Explore how to be patient: Children don’t fully understand the concept of time until they are around ten years old. By linking the child’s experiences to waiting for things such as how long it took for their broken arm to heal or how long they had to wait for their birthday to come around you plant the idea ‘you waited for it then so you can wait out lockdown’.
- Schedule and organise: Lockdown has meant families have been together at home far more. Being in the same space but with different schedules means there needs to be an understanding of who needs what space at what time. Its also a great opportunity for children to discover how the household works and to do chores of their own.
- Boost creativity: Children need to work out how to make use of their free time. Much of childhood now revolves around organised activity so they need to learn how to use their imagination for entertainment.
- Getting outdoors: Being outdoors is both mentally and physically refreshing. It also helps creativity and how to deal with the outside world and risk
- Disconnect work from play: Its important to be able to keep schoolwork and play separate. Having a designated place for school work helps children focus. It also helps teach them the mindset of work and play which is important for adults working at home and work/life balance.
- Share more: Being at home more means sharing and negotiating for space and time. This also prepares children for living in close proximity as adults. It also helps quieter, more submissive children develop the skills needed to stick up for themselves against an alpha child
- Emotional health: Having a family discussion once or twice a week where everyone sits down and listens to each other is really helpful. Each family member can talk about their fears, hopes, whats gone well and whats not. This helps children listen to different views and people and helps parents correct misinformed outlooks.
These are all skills that will be helpful as children get older. They will remember the resilience they built and used during lockdown and be able to use these skills in their adult relationships and emotions
You can find out about Dr Adams through her website where there are free resources to download, blogs, podcasts and interviews.
Dr Adams book Living on Automatic is available from Amazon.
You can listen to the podcast in full and find out further information about Dr Adams here. Our previous podcast episodes and upcoming guest list are also available and there is an option to sign-up to receive our podcast episodes on release.
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