With children out of school and family life in upheaval, many of us parents are wondering how our children are coping with their new Covid-19 homebound lifestyle.
Are Your Children Struggling At Home?
Children may have anxieties about being out of school. Parents can miss signs that our children are suffering because, at first glance, it may seem like it must be nice to have an extended and surprising vacation.
Yet, many children are worried about the safety of themselves and their loved ones. They may misrepresent facts, develop fears of getting sick, or not fully understand the magnitude of our current global situation.
Children who I am treating are worried that they will fall behind in their grades. Teens are worried that this interruption will have ripple effects for their college entrance or missed opportunities such as scholarships. Children and teens are missing their social connections.
Some children who were already experiencing social isolation prior to school closures may contend with even greater feelings of loneliness. Bouts of anger, boredom, moodiness, emotional dysregulation are already happening within our first week. (related post - what to do when a child is suicidal)
There is Help!
It may be worth it to get your child set up for telehealth counseling prior to your loved one developing more acute symptoms.
Although telehealth/video conferencing therapy used to have many clinical vaciots about who could be treated in this modality, with this current crisis we are discovering that many children can participate in online therapy (or telehealth counseling), including those who are young, have differences in verbal language, shorter attention spans, or doing necessarily share or talk about their feeling fluidly.
What Does Telehealth for Children Look Like?
Telehealth therapy during covid-19 times could look like:
- Playing an online/therapeutic game together while video-conferencing
- Experiencing joy together with your therapist even without being in the same room
- Completing therapeutic worksheets or handouts together
- Working on adaptive or life skills such as organizing and cleaning a room
- Virtual group therapy where a few teens are online at once; collaborating and supporting on another
- Texting throughout the day to maintain stability
- Sibling sessions and family therapy where the therapist invites 2-3 family members to join in therapeutic activities and gives written or verbal feedback to parents and family of how to improve interactions or relationships
- Conflict management where a therapist may be available to defuse a conflict between family members
- Observational therapeutic moments. Sometimes we just don’t know what is going on in our homes and having a therapist do a virtual home visit can yield endless tips and strategies to set parents up for emotionally well homes
What About Young Children?
For much younger children, we are doing play therapy in a new way too. We will provide you a list of toys and supplies to gather in your home.
During your child’s session, you will be guided to play with your child and will be provided moment-to-moment feedback or written/discrete feedback.
The sessions with be shortened and more frequent online for young children. For so many, therapy has occurred in the clinical hour format (45-50 minutes). We’ve noticed that many children can’t sustain that level of care, so we are shortening sessions. Sometimes offering several short sessions throughout the week.
We will find a way to work with you and your child. We are all in usual circumstances and we know with a bit of creativity and adaptability, we can help your family. Click here to schedule an appointment online.