Hi, my name is Dr Andrea Pickering and I am a Consultant Clinical Psychologist working with Recolo. We provide neuropsychological support to children, young people and their families following a brain injury.
Life from the onset of Covid 19 lockdown has been far from the norm. Our usual routines and expectations of social contact with family and friends as well as access to educational, health and social care services has been disrupted, impacting on our emotional wellbeing. Children react to these huge changes in lots of different ways. Their mood, motivation, social life, energy and sleep are especially affected. Here are some ways you can help support your child in these areas:
1 – My child has lost motivation to do schoolwork and fun things. How can I help?
What initially may have been a novel and welcome rest, has soon turned into a repetitive “Groundhog Day” where each day appears to be the same, often losing track of the day of the week and hour of the day. In this environment, structure and constructive routine are especially important for children. Making time for activities that give a sense of Achievement and Enjoyment lay the ground for not only valuing themselves, but also opportunity for growth each and every day. Set a small and realistic daily goal each day with your child. This helps to focus on what is meaningful. It has the potential to reinvigorate and lift their mood. Your child might revive past hobbies or discover new interests.
2 – My child’s sleep patterns are all over the place! Help!
I cannot be the only one to be finding that my children are now tucking me into bed! The disruption to the natural rhythm of daily life for your child has removed the cues to rest and sleep. Their ‘circadian rhythm’ that regulates sleep is heavily reliant on routine as well as a calm and settled environment to move into a sleep state.
Exercise and physical activity are important for your child, whether taken outdoors or within the home, to maintain their health, energising through endorphins, lifting their mood as well as generating fatigue by the end of the day to cue natural sleep onset.
Here are some tips to reset your child’s sleep rhythm:
3 – My child really misses their friends, what can I do?
The restrictions on physical social contact has reminded us how important a sense of connectedness is to maintain social identity and emotional wellbeing. For your child, their friends provide a sense of belonging and opportunity to have a separate identity and age appropriate interests to their parents. Time with their friends or connecting with their peer group is often what they value the most, so it is important that you can find creative ways to facilitate social distanced or online contact regularly to replenish their spirits when staying at home.
4 – Most importantly, be kind to yourself, and know that you are doing your best.
At Recolo, we provide holistic, home and school-based neuropsychological rehabilitation. We are a child and family-centred service, putting your quality of life, well-being and participation at the heart of what we do. Our aim is to make a meaningful difference to the lives of children and their families living with a brain injury.
If you would like advice or guidance from Recolo, please contact us website www.recolo.co.uk or contact email@example.com, COO.