People are developing idiosyncratic habits to cope in a world overwhelmed by a pandemic. In a matter of days the rules have changed, and continue to disrupt our daily lives to a great deal.
Although each one has a different quantum of impact, nonetheless one is still affected to some degree. Economic slowdown, the bombarding of information, a Covid-19 curve that continues to go upwards has a devastating effect on our social fabric. As adults many are extremely anxious and worried; it can be difficult to rely on usual coping strategies relating to mental wellness because we've never experienced a situation like this before. But have you ever wondered, what our children's state of mental health is?
The world is now a place wherein the mere interaction with another could be a potential threat. Children have been physically separated from their peers, teachers, grandparents, neighbours and communities. Children haven't had many experiences to help them go to a reservoir or internal "tool box" of positive energies to manage intense fear and anxiety. Any time a child faces significant change it can lead to the feeling anxiousness which can be frightening. The predictable routine which stimulates resilience to overwhelming events is missing.
A child dealing with stress may have the symptoms which approximate or mimic those of adults; they may experience anxiety, foul mood, guilt, anger, disorganisation, exhibit disruptive behaviours, increased arousal and hypervigilance, experience somatic symptoms, disillusionment and fear of a limited future.
Importantly, young children do not recognise the existence of chance events and may attribute the disaster to something they have done. Children often tune into our distress and in the absence of proper, clear, understandable information, they often make up their own exaggerated stories which may even be worse than reality.
While we may feel sanguine about protecting our children from worry by not talking about our reality, perhaps it more important to help them manage their fear and stress by being honest with them about the crisis. Age-appropriate activities and mindful manifestations can be more fruitful during this Pandemic.
So here are some tips to help children cope up with issues:
"Cloud Meditation or Sky Gazing" - Let your child become more relaxed and peaceful with this delightful experiment. A traditional Tibetan calming meditation technique called sky-gazing or cloud meditation works wonders. Cloud meditation is a great tool to develop mindfulness and it can be practiced by kids. Gazing out the window early morning is calming and soothing and helps heighten awareness to the stillness, provided you can spot a cloud in the sky. Ask them to sit in deep silence while watching the clouds, settle their attention on their breath and with each inhale and exhale let their gaze expand into the spaciousness of the clouds. Whenever their attention wanders, gently ask them to let those thoughts go, and come back to the phrase. Practice this for 10minutes every day.
"Worry Bubbles- on the relief" - This mavellous technique is designed to assist children with letting go of any worry and capture happiness. This activity is designed to help us release worry bubbles so that they feel more calm and relaxed. It is a visualisation-relaxation technique that combines thought and action to assist the child in letting go. This technique not only helps the child to visualise worries as they drift away, but it also promotes deep breathing as they are blow bubbles. Deep breathing automatically sends a message to the body to relax and calm down.
Steps: Explain to your child - "Sometimes worry feels like little bubbles inside our mind. We can feel worry in our tummies, in our brains, or pretty much anywhere inside our bodies.
1. Find a bottle of bubbles (You can prepare home-made bubbles with dish soap and sugar)
2. Ask them to think about the worry that is bothering them and picture that they are blowing the worry into the bubble as they blow a bubble
3. Picture the worry inside the bubble.
4. Ask them to watch it float away and pop. Ask them to carry the worry far, far away from them.
5. Now they know that the worry has popped and is outside of them, unable to bother them anymore.
6. Ask them to keep blowing bubbles until you feel more calm and relaxed.
"Binaural Beats Meditation" - A new secret weapon! Generally, binaural beats are safe for kids, it is a beat therapy and a sound wave therapy. It makes use of the fact that the right and left ear each receive a slightly distinctive frequency tone, yet the brain perceives these as a single tone. Advocates of this type of therapy currently recommend it for the treatment of anxiety, stress, and related disorders. These beats decrease stress and improve cognitive ability in children and help them enhance their intuitive state.
Kaleidoscope Meditation - Kaleidoscopes, colors, and sounds, according to science, are ways of accessing creativity, healing, calming, de-stressing and helps releasing endorphins and promotes positivity. They are also used as mindfulness tools and help, many suggest, with visual thinking, problem solving, brain training, accessing the unconscious and whole brain stimulation. From psychologists to ancient spiritual traditions, color and sound are said to alter our mental well being and affect our mental states. Allow your kids to enjoy psychedelic, colourful, and vibrant Kaleidoscopic animations streaming in Youtube or you can even order a kaleidoscope toy for children.
Transcendental Meditation - Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a technique to avoid distracting thoughts and promotes a state of relaxed awareness. When meditating, the ordinary thinking process is "transcended". It's replaced by a state of pure consciousness. In this state, a child can achieve perfect stillness, rest, stability, order, and a complete absence of mental boundaries.The Transcendental meditation technique is easy for children to practice because it does not require focus or concentration, and children can practice it without having to sit perfectly still and by integrating with their inner peace. Ten or fifteen minutes twice a day will help them experience a significant, natural relief from stress, anxiety, depression and fatigue. Steps for Children 1. Sit in a comfortable chair with your feet on the ground and hands in your lap. Leave your legs and arms uncrossed.
2. Close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths to relax the body.
3. Open your eyes, and then close them again. Your eyes will remain closed during the 10-minute practice.
4. Repeat the TM mantra in your mind.
5. When you recognize you're having a thought, simply return to the mantra.
6. After 10 minutes, begin to move your fingers and toes to ease yourself back to the world.
"One-moment Meditation - This meditation is simple, easy, portable, and yet powerful. Just one moment of meditation can make a big difference. Ask your child to Calm-Down for a minute which helps 'bring them back' gently, helping them become relaxed for a minute. One-moment meditation is a guided Warm-Up that gets your child 'in the zone' quickly and powerfully. This meditation has been shown to reduce stress, boost immunity, increase happiness and mindfulness.
"Stick to Natural Breathing" - Ask your child to gently and slowly inhale a normal amount of air through the nose, filling in their lower lungs. Then exhale easily. Ask them to place one hand in their stomach and one on their chest. As your child inhales gently, the lower hand should rise while the upper hand stays still. Ask your child to continue this gentle breathing pattern with a relaxed attitude, concentrating on filling only the lower lungs. This helps reduce anxiety within children.
"Hypnosis" - Hypnosis helps diminishing peripheral or accentuating conditions in kids. You can make your child practice daily for 10 minutes before bedtime or early in the morning. It is a tranquillity-like state in which will assist your child with heightened focus, mindfulness and concentration. Hypnosis will allow your child to bypass their subconscious mind and introduce them with positive thoughts and ideas into their conscious. It is also popularly known as - "Mental imaginary technique".
You can ask your child to relax on the bed, breath slowly and evenly from the stomach and not from the chest and deep dive into remembering good things. By closing both the eyes, recalling a pleasing and a joyful image from the past, ask them to vividly experience the same by remembering the sound, smell, colour and taste of the moments. After 10 minutes ask your child to return back with a good feeling accumulated from those memories.