3 Ways To Help Your Complex Learner During Tumultuous Times
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and yesterday’s shocking attack on the U.S. capital, it is very common to feel fear, confusion, and anxiety. Children, and especially Complex Learners, may struggle to understand what is happening in the world and our country. This confusion can lead to anxiety, outbursts, trouble sleeping, and other negative side effects.
As parents, you want to protect your child and safeguard them from anything that may add more anxiety and fear into their lives. But there are ways you can help support your child during times of crisis that can make them feel safe, supported, and heard. Read on for our 3 tips to help your Complex Learner during difficult times.
Limit and monitor media consumption
During times of crisis, it’s important to stay informed with accurate and up-to-date information but that can soon cross the line into overexposure. This is particularly true for children. Children don’t need to be informed of every single detail surrounding an event. Be sure to limit their media consumption based upon their age level and processing abilities. This also means being aware of your own consumption. While it may be custom to leave the news on in the background during dinner time, your child is absorbing it as well, maybe take that time to talk as a family about good things that happened during everyone’s day.
Especially important with older children, who have their own devices, is being aware of what your child is seeing. Did they talk about events in school? If they’re searching recent events on Google – what videos are they watching? What articles are they reading? Take this as an opportunity to speak with your child about seeking out and verifying that the materials they’re consuming are from a reliable source.
Give your child a safe space to talk
While it might be tempting to not want to address these issues with your child in the hopes that they remain unphased by it, addressing these events helps ensure that your child has a safe space to get accurate information and share their own feelings and fears. Let your child know they can ask any questions or share any feelings they may be having about what’s going on – even if it’s just confusion.
Start the conversation in a safe place – not before bedtime or as you’re rushing to get dinner ready. While it may be up to you to begin the conversation, let your child take the lead. This will help you understand what your child knows about the situation, what aspects are they fixated on, and will help clue you in as to how you can help.
Don’t be afraid to share your own feelings as well – in an age-appropriate and reassuring way. It can help your child open up to know that you too may be sad and anxious about what’s going on. But be sure to include what you’re doing to work through these feelings (talking to trusted family or friends about it, taking time for exercise or a mindful minute, journaling) along with your belief that there are good people in the world who are working hard to keep everyone safe.
Take care of yourself
As a parent, you may be used to the focus being on your child. But you can’t forget about yourself, especially during times like this. Children feed off of the energy of the adults in their household so it’s important to look after your own anxiety and concerns too.
Follow the advice listed above and limit your own media consumption. Talk with a spouse, adult family member, or friend about how you’re feeling. It can be very easy to feel overwhelmed by negative feelings so, if you can, unplug from your devices and take a mindful minute or go for a walk or run outside by yourself. If you’re struggling, consider reaching out to a mental health professional who could help provide tools and resources to help.
For you to be able to offer your child the help and support they deserve, you need to ensure your mind and body are healthy and strong.
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