The constantly changing lockdowns have been tough on young children, with many of their usual activities being taken away from them. For children and teenagers alike, being thrust again into socialisation has become challenging and exhausting. Many young children are developing social anxiety after the consistent lack of interaction. Learning how to help children and teenagers deal with this is important.
Family and child councellor Madeline Kingsley recommends getting young children to draw images of people who they haven’t seen for a long time.
“Encourage the child to draw pictures of who they long to see again and use old photos to remind them that we once had great family gatherings and may do so again.”
Dressing up as a Superhero
Another way that she feels is best to help children is to have them imagine the strength and power of their favourite characters and how they can channel it.
“Putting on a heroic costume – Superman’s cloak, a Hogwarts hat or Elsa’s frock from Frozen – invests a child with strength and power: in those make-believe moments he or she no longer feels insecure or anxious. They are off on some great quest, slaying metaphorical dragons or escaping from winter’s icy grip, confident of a happy ending. You can even buy a face mask for Barbie which gives the opportunity to talk about a time to come when maybe she won’t always need it, though meanwhile it’s best to be safe.”
Blow Some Bubbles
Bubbles are brilliant as they are fun and relaxing! Get your little ones outside breathing deeply. By breathing deeply and exhaling slowly to form the bubbles you are teaching them mindfulness exercises. Get them to imagine that they are blowing away their worries as the bubbles float into the air.
One of the best anxiety coping strategies is to go on a nature walk. Much of lockdown has been this period of isolation, so by going outside you can practice grounding with your children. Walk through a garden, woodland, or park and get your child to use their senses to experience their surroundings. Get them to notice five things that they see, four things that they hear, three things that they smell, two things they can touch, and one thing to taste. Not only will this benefit them by helping to create a strategy, but it will get them outside feeling the benefits of fresh air.
Focus their centre
A good way to help teenagers is by getting them to explore coping skills. This could be yoga, muscle relaxation, creating calming mantras, or gratitude lists. By helping them create mantras to say when they are stressed and anxious during socialisation, then it can help them persevere and get back into the habit of seeing people regularly.