January 6, 2022 – With the arrival of the Omicron variant, these are not easy days for parents, children or anyone trying to figure out what is best when it comes to a very simple act of attending school.
As we have seen, one day your child could be on the school bus on the way to school, and the next day it would be positive on COVID-19 and it should be quarantine for days. It’s dizzying weather stress, anxiety and confusion that takes its toll.
“Everyone is so upset now,” says Dr. Andrea Bonior, a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Washington, DC, and author Detoxify your thoughts.
There are things we can do to make it easier, she says. The first is to take a break.
“It’s very easy to be reactionary in what we do and things can escalate,” Bonior says.
Instead, she says, think about your actions and realize that the uncertainty that surrounds us brings everyone into a state of heightened alertness.
And while parents are currently among the biggest stressors, it is crucial for you to be available to your children. After all, they navigated for 2 or more years pandemic and maybe this huge increase in viruses will be scarier than you think.
To help parents help their children see today and the days ahead, WebMD asked Steven Meyers, Ph.D., professor and chairman of psychology at Roosevelt University in Chicago, for five things parents need to do – now:
1: Give children the right information
Depending on how old your child is, adjust the understandable Omicron growth message.
“Given the uncertainty and misinformation out there, it’s hard for parents to navigate this terrain, so think about how hard it is for your kids,” Meyers says.
Make the message clear about how the whole family can stay safe and define what an acceptable risk means.
“For example,” he says, “if you have a family member who is immunocompromised, that risk will look different than if your family is young and healthy. The level of threat will vary, and this is important to keep in mind as it will be positive on COVID-19 to have different impacts on people’s lives, depending on everyone’s overall health. ”
2: Lean into the unknowable
Instead of acting like you know everything, explain to your children that the facts about the Omicron variant are evolving as we learn more and more about it.
“Parents should explain that science is always changing, and as we learn more, recommendations and decisions will change,” Meyers says.
“When we are under stress, we tend to rely on the safe and the insecure, the right versus the wrong. But we have to get used to the idea that the guidelines, where we are now with this pandemic, will continue to change as the spread and risk will continue to change. ”
3: Discuss what security means for everyone
If your child says he or she does not want to go to school because of the risk of contracting COVID, listen to their concerns.
“Then calmly explain that you followed vaccine guidelines and that it is important to be as safe as possible, depending on his or her age and when he or she received it vaccine and an amplifier, ”says Meyers. “Remember that each person in your family will have a very individual reaction to this situation and will have different worries and concerns.”
4: Watch out for anxiety warning signs
As parents know, children are currently facing great stress as well anxiety about the pandemic and we are tired of 2 years of this.
“Especially among teenagers, some will keep their fears to themselves, while others will let them leak through less productive channels, such as mis postings on social media, headaches, abdominal pain or inability to sleep,” Meyers says. “It is crucial for parents to pay close attention to these signs of anxiety and to keep the lines of communication open.”
5: Help your teen re-examine FOMO
When teens now see stories on Instagram in which their friends party and gather in large groups, the fear of missing out – or FOMO – is real.
As a parent, you can turn FOMO into something pretty amazing, Meyers says.
“Emphasize the virtue of security,” he says. “Try to help your teen find a way to transfer that from a sense of loss to a sense of what we can gain.”
An example, he says, is that adhering to safety protocols means not only staying healthy, but protecting those we care about.
“Together we contribute to the health of our community,” he says. “It may not sound like fun, but it’s very important. Parents need to see consideration for others as a real strength, not a weak consolation reward. ”