How to help your family manage stress and build resilience during the third wave of the pandemic

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"Start doing imaginary play games with your children...it allows children to act out their worst fears". (Getty Images)
"Start doing imaginary play games with your children...it allows children to act out their worst fears". (Getty Images)

It seems like every day offers new hurdles and additional reasons to be fearful and stressed.

If you're a parent, that means keeping not only your emotions in check but those of your young family members who don't yet have a handle on how to deal with difficulties.

"We are living in a crazy and completely unprecedented time," Meg Faure, author and co-founder of the play-based daycare programme, Play Sense, said recently during a coaching session via Instagram

During the session, Faure, who is also an Occupational Therapist and infant specialist, shared coping skills and strategies to help moms and dads build resilience for themselves and their families. 

"When we are in tears with fear and anxiety, we know that our children are seeing it, and we know that this affects them. So now, as parents, we're not only trying to think about the basics.... but we're also trying to think about our children's emotional world". 

Here's a look at the pointers Faure shared. 

Also read: Working parents reveal their goals and fears around balancing family life in pandemic poll

Understand your brain 

"Our brains have three different areas. We have our very basic brain or our reptilian brain, and that's the brain that reacts with anger and violence, flight and fight. Over that is our emotional brain, where we experience fear and overlayed that is our cortical brain or our thinking brain. The only way that you and I can parent effectively is if we are reacting in our green brain". 

Speak up 

"When we can articulate things, it helps us calm down. If you need to talk, definitely speak to your partner. Also, give your children the words. So you can say things like, "Mommy's feeling a little bit scared now".

Take a deep breath before reacting

"When you are being overwhelmed with fear when things feel like it's just too much, you need to take a deep breath. I know it's easier said than done, but for the sake of your children, take a deep breath, speak slower and lower and try and gather yourself, at least when you're in front of them". 

Also read: Anxiety at school: Helping your child survive and thrive

Take time out

 "Sometimes, you just need time out. When you cannot manage your emotions, you need that escape. It becomes very important that you work as a tag team... let one parent who looks like they're at the end of their tether go to the bedroom, escape to the garden, or whatever you can do to give the other relief". 

Try imaginary play with your children 

"Start doing imaginary play games with your children...it allows children to act out their worst fears. Let your little one lead the play, so if they want to [pretend] about a dolly who is sick, or play a fighting game with two soldiers fighting, or if they want to bring a dinosaur in to attack animals, whatever it is, let them play. As your little one goes into imaginary play, they'll start to release some of the stuff that they're processing. Try to reflect back to them how they're feeling by saying something like, "I think that dinosaur must be very angry, or I think the animal must be very scared'". 

How is your family handling the stress of this third wave of Covid-19? 

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