Written by Laura Lyles Reagan, MS, Photo: Fotolia.com
Unfortunately, the pandemic and its consequences are still with us. But you can practice safety protocols, rigorous self-care, love your neighbor and, yes, support your tw/een who has little control over their new reality. Read on for some suggestions on how to prevent the pandemic blues in your tw/een.
- Open up. Use self-disclosure and talk to your tw/een about how you are feeling. For example, if you are working remotely, “I really miss the interaction at work. I didn’t think I would.”
- Ask your tw/een open-ended questions about how they feel, “Tell me what you miss the most right now?”
- Go outside. Get back to nature. It can make such a difference to you and your tw/een’s mental and physical health.
- Socialize safely! Find age-appropriate online communities.
- Use behavior activation. Suggest to your tw/een that they do one different activity a day. Set one goal a day. Say something like, “I’d like to try a new yoga video on YouTube. I notice I feel better when I do something different. Would you like to do some yoga with me?”
- Enjoy special family time. It doesn’t have to be a verbal connection. Presence with each other builds trust. Cook together, watch a movie together, or play a family board game together.
- Adopt a future orientation. Learn new skills together. By learning new skills for the future, your tw/een will realize that the pandemic will end. For example, take your teen for driving lessons in an empty parking lot, practice life skills together like cooking and budgeting, learn computer coding or website design.
- Be of service. Encourage your tw/een to do their own service project. There’s nothing like getting out of yourself to ward off depression. For example, your tw/een can shovel a neighbor’s driveway and sidewalk or mow a neighbor’s lawn in the warmer months, go grocery shopping for a friend, an extended family member, or a neighbor in need. Offer to walk a neighbor’s dog or your tw/een can start an online fundraiser for their favorite cause.
- Ask your tw/een how they think you can prevent your own pandemic blues - they may have some great creative ideas for you to try. Remember, to offer your best to your family, you need support, especially during a pandemic. Reach out to others for support.
Laura Lyles Reagan, MS, is a parent and teen life coach, sociologist, and parenting journalist. She can be reached for questions or comments at lauralreagan.com.