Hello families of Wellington Counseling Group
I certainly hope this message finds you and your families in good health now and in the days ahead. During these very uncertain times, I wanted to reach out and let you know that I and the rest of the Child and Adolescent team at WCG are available to answer any questions or concerns you might have. Though we do not know what specifically lies ahead in the coming weeks, the one thing that is abundantly clear is that we will all be spending A LOT of time inside with our families, unable to participate in normal aspects of our daily routine. I am sure we have all read the ubiquitous articles about what to do to stay healthy and “flatten the curve” throughout the next few weeks. Without a doubt, the social limits we are under should go far in making a significant impact on public health. But, with social distancing and isolation comes an undeniable impact on emotional well-being. I wanted to share some thoughts on how to frame our mindset, not only to survive, but to thrive as families and emerge from this stronger, more resilient, and more emotionally steady. As a parent of two children, ages 9 and 6, I am certainly riding this roller-coaster with you.
Creating structure and routines
~It might be tempting to stay in pajamas all day, but facilitating a sense of normalcy through routines will help with everyone’s adjustment. Expecting kids to adhere to regular weekday routines, such as getting dressed, brushing teeth, completing chores, and sticking to bedtime routines will help maintain an atmosphere of consistency and create predictable anchor points for the day. We will resume normal living at some point and when that happens, our sticking to household routines will have helped facilitate those smooth transitions back to school and work.
Connecting with our kids and sharing individual interests
~Focus on using the time to join in what captures your child’s interest, whether it be a board game, craft, pretend play activity, or video game; yes, I said “a video game!”. During a typical week, it’s probably challenging to carve out daily or even weekly time to put aside parenting tasks or work responsibilities to join an activity. Now I have no excuse not to learn how to play Mario Kart with my 9-year-old or “play school” with my 6-year-old. While adults’ primary focus might be on physical health issues, children can recollect on this time with fond memories of playing with parents and teaching them a new skill or two.
Flexible approach to reality
~The endless parade of canceled beloved activities, birthday parties, family visits, and spring break trips have been a lot to digest over the past few days and likely it has elicited a range of emotions for children and parents. This pause from normalcy, though, can offer an opportunity to listen to a child’s concerns and enjoy an open dialogue about what is on his/her mind. Though not a replacement for your canceled spring break by any means, using this time to engage in learning about the destination can be a great family activity. For example, since you may not be traveling to Mexico anymore, think about finding resources to still expose children to the culture, whether it be through making a homemade dish together or researching the ecology of the environment. If you are fortunate enough to be able to rebook in the future, your children will very likely remember what they learned during this time and make the connection when they have the opportunity to take that trip as more active participants and informed travelers of the world.
Take good care of yourselves and loved ones. Connections can still remain strong in the face of social limits so I will be popping up in your inbox from time to time.
We’ll see you online when we see you next!
Allison Lobel, Psy.D.
Director of Child & Adolescent Service
Three great free daily activities to keep kids engaged
- 25-day Drawing Challenge
- 30-day Lego Challenge
- Making one homemade card each day to send snail mail to a family or friend