We are all experiencing Pandemic Fatigue. For the past year, Covid-19 has disrupted our normal everyday routines. and limited social contact with friends and family.
We’ve all had enough.
Although most kids appear to be adjusting to the many changes, parents remain worried.
In a recent survey conducted by Statistics Canada 71% of parents surveyed, worried about the amount of time their children were missing due to being out of regular school.
Parents also worried about their children’s lack of socialization and limited extracurricular activities.
70% of the parents, worried about their abilities to manage their children’s behavior.
They described themselves as being less patient and more irritable. They felt that they were scolding and yelling at their children more often.
64% of parents complained about their children and increased computer screen time. They all had concerns about the long-term impact on their children going forward.
Parents not only worried about their children’s mental health and their ability to cope, they worried about their own abilities to do so as well.
These statistics refer to Canada. I am assuming that the numbers are similar in other countries as well.
Recently a few single parents reached out to me requesting my services as a social worker. They had concerns about their children’s emotional health and behavior.
In fact, this along with it being Children’s Mental Health Week May 3-7, is what prompted me to write this blog
These single parents called me in desperation. each struggling to address the anxiety and acting out behavior of their children. They described their children as becoming agitated by all the noise surrounding Covid-19
This increased anxiety was contributing to alarming acting out behaviors. These behaviours included targeted aggressiveness, deliberate destruction of parent’s personal property, disjointed thinking, obsessive compulsive hand washing, over concern about germs, obsessive concerns with Covid and Covid statistics. Parents were also concerned about their children and computer addiction.
Is your child experiencing difficulties coping with the impact of the Pandemic Lockdown?
Are they fatigued with online schooling?
If your response is yes, then you need to reach out and connect to some form of support. If not for your child, then for yourself so that you can cope better with your child’s difficulties.
You can connect with your local Children’s Mental Health Service, or local Family Services Counselling Program.
Although they may not be able to provide face-to-face service, they will be able to connect with you and your child online.
The key message here is that as a single parent, or parents in general, you don’t need to struggle alone.
A good resource available in Canada to both parents and children is the Kids Help Line. This should be a part of your Family Resource Kit should you choose to create one.
Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
If you live in a Third World Country with limited resources, start by connecting to your child’s school and ask them for information, resources, and ideas.
You can also ask questions from your local religious organization, church, temple, etc.
There is a wealth of children’s mental health information on the internet. There are also many online parent support groups that you can join and podcasts that you can listen to.
Don’t be afraid to reach out and get support if you find that you or your child is not coping well.
Here are some further tips for you:
1. You can create No-Tech Zone Times in your family, where you turn off all technology in the house. This means no phones, Ipads, Computers, Laptops, etc. Everybody turns everything off.
2. Monitor what you and your child watch on TV. Our brains can get zoned out and numbed by excessive violent crime programs.
3. Stay informed, but dial down the amount of time you and your child are watching the news. Children absorb negative energy from the news which in turn creates anxiety for them. They also absorb your negative energy as well.
4. Create a Family Resource Kit or Stress Tool Kit. This can be a box of ideas that you and your children create together of the different ways you all can manage stressful situations and stressful emotions. Make sure both you and your children use it.
5.Don’t underestimate the importance of family connection. Daily engagement and connection as a family are important. You need to see how your child is coping on a daily basis. They also need to see that you as a parent are doing okay.
Children feel best supported if there are consistent routines and structure.
6. As a parent your own mental health and self-care are important. This will allow you to respond to your child’s needs and support them better .
7. Ensure that you and your children get outside (masked) on a regular basis. If possible try and be around nature as this shifts and clears negative energy quickly.
These tips and tools are a jumping-off point to help you as a parent to manage your child’s mental health. They are not a substitute for mental health assessment and counselling.
Reducing Covid-19 Anxiety for Your Family and Your Child
Creative Family Activities to Support Your Child’s Mental Health.
12 Tips to Help Teens Deal with Anxiety
Resources specific to Ontario Canada
School Mental Health Ontario –
How to Talk with your Child when you feel Concerned they may be Struggling with a
Mental Health Concern
Noticing Mental Health Concerns for Your Child (SMHO)
Suicide Prevention Guide for Parents (SMHO).
- Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
- Text a Counsellor: 686868; Live Chat: https://kidshelpphone.ca/live-chat/
- Black Youth Helpline-416-258-9944- 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day
- Indus Community Services: 905-275-2369
- Family Services (community specific)
- Connex Ontario (24/7 Mental Health Service Directory)
Until Public Health is able to get a strong hold on Covid-19 it will be something that we all have to live with. It’s important not to be over come by stress and to diligently find healthy ways to cope and support your children in coping as well.
We are all in this together.