Supporting young people during Covid-19
While this is a time of uncertainty, social distancing and isolation gives us time at home that we otherwise may not have. While difficult, social distancing and isolation also gives families time to spend together, to really engage and communicate.
‘Talking makes us stronger’ – we now have the time and space to not only talk, but also to listen.
Keeping young people busy during this time is very important. This will help to ensure they are not constantly watching updates shared – which may or may not be accurate.
It can be challenging enough for adults to decipher which information is legitimate – for young people, it can be even more difficult to make sense of what can be an information overload.
Young people too are struggling with not being able to go to school, meet their friends and practice the activities they enjoy. It is understandable that they may find it difficult to progress with schoolwork without the support of teachers. Many young people may be worried about their loved ones and their friends at this time. It important to encourage them to practice self-care and mind their emotional and mental wellbeing.
Here are some tips on how to do just that:
Encourage life skills and independence: Encourage young people to learn how to wash clothes, how to make simple dinners, how to bake, how to complete a food shop and complete activities which they will need when they become more independent.
Money management: Teach young people how to manage a budget and how to calculate spending, looking at which items are necessary and which items are a luxury – for example, you might need milk while you might feel like you want a treat.
Importance of hygiene: With daily reminders to wash our hands, etc, now is a great time to talk about the importance of personal hygiene.
Encourage them to listen to music: Ask your teenagers to make a list of upbeat songs that make them feel good. Can they then share this with you, or with their siblings? There are lots of applications and online programmes which can help them along.
Encourage them to be creative: Making video journals, writing a journal or creating art about how they are feeling can be a great way for young people to express themselves and communicate their emotions.
Encourage them to connect with family and friends: Now is the perfect time to get creative with how young people can stay in touch with family and friends. Chat online, over the phone… or they could even write a letter!
Encourage sharing worries and feelings: Encourage your children to talk about how they are feeling and about what they are hearing and seeing. Ask them about what they have seen online and in the media.
Encourage them to get active: Staying at home can be difficult. Encourage young people to get out for a walk, a run or even chill outside in the garden. Fresh air and being outside will break the feeling of being indoors, once they remember the social distancing guidelines.
For up-to-date and authoritative information in relation to COVID-19, see the HSE's website here.