Tips for Parents During COVID-19 Pandemic
From the Nebraska School Counselor Association
1. Limit Media and Social Media Exposure – This is good advice for people of all ages. The target audience of media outlets is adults, so their broadcasts can cause even more confusion and anxiety for younger children.
2. Have a Routine – With school out it is important to establish a new daily routine. Wake up, get dressed, complete distance learning school work, eat meals, and go to bed at the same time each day. Create a schedule that includes these things plus relaxation time, chores, exercise, creative time, etc.
3. Allow Your Child to be in Closer Proximity to You – With so much change and uncertainty, children may need additional reassurance.
4. Make Time to Allow Your Child to Talk About How They are Feeling – Ask open ended questions, listen without interruption and avoid the temptation to quickly provide a solution to their concerns.
5. Provide Factual Reassurance AFTER They Have Had a Chance to Express How They are Feeling – Honesty and accuracy is critical. Facts to consider sharing:
- Most people do not have COVID-19 and most people who have it don’t get seriously ill
- We can control the spread of the disease by washing our hands and avoiding contact with people who have it
- The nation’s best medical professionals are working to help people with COVID-19 some of which are right here in Nebraska.
- If true, remind them that everyone in their family is fine.
6. Tell Your Children You Love Them and Spend More Time with Them – Make more time than usual to share activities together; play games, read to each other, watch a movie or TV show, create art, make crafts, sing and dance, go for a walk outside. There are many free online resources to help generate ideas.
7. Encourage Teens to Do Stress Reducing Activities – read, journal, write poetry or short stories, draw, exercise, listen to music, or simply close their eyes and focus on taking slow deep breaths.
8. As Much as Possible Have Your Child Eat Healthy Well-Balanced Meals – this has an impact on mental and physical health.
9. If You Have Concerns Reach Out to Your Child’s School Counselor – If their district is doing some kind of distance learning, chances are their school counselor is working from home and is prepared to support you and your child during this difficult time. Reach out to them via their school email address. Keep in mind each school district has its own set of criteria for school counselor ability during this time.
Gross Catholic School Counselors
- Freshman & Sophomores: Mr. Marty Gilson, email@example.com
- Juniors, Seniors, & College Counseling: Mrs. Julie McNamara, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mental Health Considerations During COVID-19 Concerns
From Catholic Charities
Our sense of normalcy has changed. We are in unprecedented times causing anxiety even among people with no mental health issues. It’s important to know that in these uncertain times, with recommendations becoming more restrictive than the day before, it is no surprise that anxiety and depression are increasing at alarming rates. Experts are recommending social distancing, which can cause increasing feelings of loneliness and disconnection, increasing symptoms of anxiety and depression. We also have chronic fear of the unknown, and feel helpless as we have very little control. These issues combined leave us feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and uncertain. Following are tips and techniques to help take care of our mental health during these times.
What to Look Out For
- Lack of interest in previously important or fun activities
- Feeling overwhelmed and restless
- Changes in eating and sleeping habits (too much or too little)
- Headaches, fatigue, insomnia.
How to Cope
- Pray and engage in activities that will encourage spiritual growth.
- Avoid excessive exposure to media coverage: take breaks, limit intake only to trusted news sources (CDC, WHO, etc.), and decide on a specific time to check in on the news.
- Focus on what is in your control and actions to take to keep yourself and loved ones safe. Use mindfulness to stay present and take it one day at a time.
- Grounding techniques: Explore the present moment, because right now, all is well. Notice your breathing and the sensations of your breathing. Notice the ground beneath you. Look around and notice what you see, the colors, the shapes, the objects, what you hear, what you can touch, what you can smell.
- Deep breathing: Breathe in for a slow count of eight, hold your breath for a count of eight, and then exhale for a count of eight. Repeat this sequence.
- Keep contact with loved ones via social media, text, and phone calls/FaceTime.
- Add extra time for daily stress relief.
- Practice self-care, including physical activity, regular meals, and hydration.
- Keep yourself busy with games, books, movies.
- Reassure them that they’re safe.
- Let them talk about their worries.
- Limit their news exposure.
- Create a routine and structure.
Holding on to Hope
- “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
- “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord you God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
- Panic, by confusing and frightening you, pulls you away from the help God wants to give you. It is not coming from God. What is coming from God? St. Ignatius tells us: God’s spirit “stirs up courage and strength, consolations, inspirations and tranquility.” So trust in the calm and hope you feel. That is the voice to listen to. “Do not be afraid!,” as Jesus said many times. -Father Martin, S.J
What You May Have Missed
- Kathleen Brousek: A Passion for Playing Her Heart’s Strings
- 3 Alum Add Up to the Right Answer
- The Stern Family: Keeping Marianist Traditions Alive
- Ben Yanovich: Driven to Succeed
- Brandon Dreams of Being a Doctor
- Statterly Advocates for Dignity and Opportunity
- Meet the Pajnagars!
- This is How I Dux Esto–Ben Theiler
About Gross Catholic
One of Nebraska’s premier private schools, Gross Catholic High School is a faith and family-based community committed to developing Christian leaders through academic excellence in the Marianist tradition. Recognized locally for its outstanding education, welcoming atmosphere, competitive sports programs, engaging activities, robust faith, and boundless service work, Gross Catholic has energized the Omaha area for over 50 years. We are Faithful, Compassionate, and Driven! We are Gross Catholic!
To discover the Gross Catholic difference, contact us at 402.734.2000 or visit our Admissions page at grosscatholic.org.