MIDLAND, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) – Remote learning, cancelled games, closed down theaters, and no hanging out with friends; while these are necessary steps to flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19, for kids, this pandemic is a lot to deal with.
Katelyn Workman, the Director of Rays of Hope in Midland said, “Everything is not normal, they’re grieving not seeing their friends, and not being at school, not playing their sports, grief doesn’t end for a pandemic.”
The Director added a lot of the time kids don’t always know how to put what they’re feeling in words and those dealing with anxiety can be particularly affected by things like this making journaling, taking walks, and other outlets of expression a necessity during this time.
“Recognizing their emotions and maybe telling people what’s going on and how they’re feeling because our emotions are all over the place. One day you may be sad the next day you may be fine. You’re spending all of this time with your family and so maybe you’re angry you’re getting frustrated and so recognizing those emotions and then finding ways to cope with them. Writing down how they’re feeling, what they did that day just to make sure that they get it out. They don’t have to share with anybody just getting out on paper that will help them express that.”
One activity in particular, the heart map, helps kids visualize what they are feeling and lets them take control of their emotions before discussing why they are feeling these things and what makes them feel better when they are feeling those emotions.
“They have a heart, they draw it on a piece of paper if they want to, and then they just choose the emotions that they felt either today or in the last week and they write those down and then they assign a color to them,” said Workman.
She said a good way to reduce stress or fear in kids dealing with anxiety is to change their perspective and focus on things they can control.
“Making sure that they know that there is a serious thing that is going on and then focusing on the good. Focus on washing our hands and staying home and ‘we’re wearings masks if we have to go out’ or cleaning the house. Focusing on those good things rather than the negative will ease some fears for kids.”