We are all living through a very challenging time and coping with impact of the Coronavirus. Although, the lock-down and social distancing are essential to avoid transmission, it is very difficult for families who care for children and adults with disabilities that require therapies and assistance with daily routines. With the closures of schools, medical settings and caregiving agencies, resources are scarce and children’s clinical services and other treatments are disrupted.
While the parents are trying to stay healthy and keep their children safe, dealing with their children’s anxiety and their own worries are getting more difficult. It will be helpful for the parents and caregivers to use guidance provided by the American Psychological Association in coping with the challenges created by the Coronavirus Here are some of the suggestions:
- Stay informed but limit the use of media and social media to a few trusted resources for accurate information.
- Communicate with your children in the best way you know they can handle the information without stress and anxiety. Answer their questions and assure them of the shared goal to keep everyone safe. Revisit the topic periodically to be sure they understand what’s happening around them.
- Check with the school teachers and therapists for ways to keep them occupied and interested. Reach out to other parents and families to come up with creative ways for the children to stay connected with their friends and schoolmates virtually.
- Create new routines to make the children feel secure and find activities to make them feel calm,
- Encourage the children to express their feelings, fear and concerns. Express your empathy and show your love more during these difficult times.
- For further information, please visit: https://www.apa.org/research/action/children-disabilities-covid-19
Here are some additional suggestions by well-known psychologist Dr. Carolyn Daitch PhD.
- Parent’s mental and physical wellbeing is essential for the health of their children. Parents are recommended to have respite time on a regular basis (even if it is a longer shower or a 15-minute walk)
- Learn/ use simple techniques to ease muscle tensions (Example, clench the fists tightly for several seconds and then release). Add breathing techniques and meditation to your daily routine.
- Children are sensitive to parent’s feelings. Pause and take care of your own emotional feelings in order to create a calm environment at home.
- When children are stressed and anxious, remind them and talk about of the happy events of the past such as a trip to the zoo or Disney and plan future events when things change. Find self-soothing techniques for the children such as playing certain soft music or blowing bubbles.
- For further information on Dr. Daitch visit https://carolyndaitchphd.com/
We understand your challenges. Like most people, you have employment, financial and other family members to be concerned about. Taking care of your child with special needs is an added responsibility. We believe this time will pass. Amidst the chaos, we remain optimistic and hopeful for normalcy in the near future. In the meantime, please reach out to us for any help you may need from our team.
Stay safe and healthy.
Minoti Rajput CFP ChSNC
Minoti Rajput is the founder and principal wealth advisor of Secure Planning Strategies. She has been working with families with children of special needs for over thirty years and is a frequent speaker on various topics related to special needs planning. She is also the author of ‘Beyond a Parent’s Love. https://www.spsfinancial.com/minotis-book