The rates of depression and anxiety have skyrocketed this past year due to fear and uncertainty. These rates not only are seen in adults, but also in teens and children. During a time of life when socialization is vital, our kids have been isolated and inundated with information even adults have trouble processing.
Distance and hybrid learning has taken a toll on kids and parents. It is important to set a schedule so that a child knows what he/she is doing at a regular time. Another vital component of a child’s learning is playing. Many children I know have greatly increased screen time over these last months. Creative, imaginative play is vital for brain development as is physical activity. It is still important to limit screen time, as much as this is soothing in many ways for kids and gives parents a break. The recommendation is an hour of screen time per day, though some pediatricians and neuroscientists have altered that to two hours.
Please turn off the news. Listening to daily death tolls and political vitriol sparks fear and uncertainty for us all. I believe it is important to be honest with your child in an age-appropriate way about being safe. While masks in public places are recommended, they have also added another layer of depersonalization. You kids need to see you smile and interact with them.
Being homebound and isolated increase depression, and anxiety as well as rates of physical illness. Our immune systems function better with socialization and physical activity. Many parents have returned to work, at least part-time, and are able to socialize there. Kids need each other, and they need you to reassure them that their world is a safe place.
So talk to your kids, reassure them. Play with your kids. With mild weather, go outside, ride bikes together. Go to one of the many places in our wonderful area for walks and hikes. Tell them, and yourselves that things will get back to normal someday soon.
– Susan Rhyne, LMFT
If you want to book an appointment with Susan or any of our other amazing clinicians, don’t hesitate to call: 530-338-0087.