If you’re wondering why your child is acting out, seems depressed, or has been especially anxious, David and Donna point to the importance of socializing for young children and teens.
“It’s almost a physical need,” says David, who compared children’s playtime with others as equivalent to the physical needs of hunger and thirst.
Interaction with other children teaches kids how to be adults—how to share, negotiate, and get along with others. Interaction with peers for teens is largely how they form their identities and understand their place in the world.
Without these interactions, kids have greatly suffered emotionally and even though they’re back in school, they are probably still experiencing the loss of the last year and half without their friends, school and communities.
Donna says Covid has created a “nasty soup” in the home—a perfect storm of not only kids being isolated but also being stuck at home with their parents who are stressed about being isolated with their kids. The stress and anxiety compound and everyone’s emotional health suffers.
Fortunately, you are not powerless over your child’s emotional health or your own. For your child, David and Donna suggest two remedies:
1. Spend time together as a family.
I know what you’re thinking. You’ve spent more time together as a family than ever before in the last year and a half! But what David and Donna are suggesting is intentional quality time together, not sitting in the living room on your phones.
Have a game night, movie night, cook together, or go on a walk—these are all examples of intentional family time. If your child is suffering from depression or anxiety, connection with others is crucial. These activities will help foster that connection and will keep you in tune with how your child is doing.
2. Give your child a sense of purpose.
For many kids, school is like their job. It gives them a sense of purpose, something to get up for in the morning. When they transitioned to online school or homeschool, this made many children feel like they didn’t have a job anymore. Even though they were technically still in school, school felt drastically different, and their participation level probably dropped.
Give your child a sense of purpose by including him in family chores, asking him to help in the kitchen, or making him feel needed and important in the family in some way. While he might be back in school this year, he lost his sense of purpose last year and it needs to be restored. You can help restore it by making him feel like a vital member of the family.
3. Connect with other parents.
This remedy is for you, parents. Community is important for kids and for adults. Though we’re isolated during Covid, that doesn’t mean you can’t reach out for help, you can’t make friends with other parents, and you can’t get the support and advice you need when you need it most.
I created an online parenting community before I ever knew a pandemic would be coming. And what a blessing it has turned out to be during this time. Every day, parents show up and talk to each other. They ask important questions about how to handle the changes and “new normal” since Covid, discipline, health, and so much more. They’ve gotten to know each other, they’ve supported one another, and I’ve been able to help along the way.
Joining the Parenting Great Kids community is exactly what you need if you’re looking for help and support as you raise your kids through this transitionary time, while staying sane and emotionally healthy yourself. Hearing that someone else has been there too and is going through the same thing can be incredibly powerful.
When you join the community, you will not only have access to talk to other members, but you will gain access to all of my online courses and training, conversations on every parenting topic you can think of, and direct access to me. I am available to answer questions directly for our members – YOU!
Parents, I highly recommend you do what you need to do for your own mental health during this time. Join the Parenting Great Kids Community today. Together, we will get through this.
And don’t forget to listen to my podcast with Drs. David and Donna Lane. Click here to listen to our full conversation.