Help your tween deal with stress during Covid-19 lockdown

Have the restrictions of Covid-19 gotten to your tween? Here’s how to help them reclaim their energy and lust for life.

 Let your tween know that it’s okay to feel however they feel – whether that’s scared, worried, angry, or sad – during these uncertain times.

Is your tween drowsy, unable to concentrate, and uninterested in things? They might be suffering from lockdown burnout.

After weeks of staying at home due to the restrictions put in place to lower the Covid-19 curve, you may notice that your child lacks energy and lust for life. According to experts, the pandemic has not only affected the wellbeing of adults but of children, too.

The three stages of stress

Experts who have studied the science of stress say that the more stress your child experiences, the more it wears them down, leaving them feeling drowsy, unable to concentrate, and uninterested in things.

Children, like adults, typically respond to stress in three stages, according to Hans Selye, a medical doctor, and researcher who has conducted extensive research on the subject.

The stages are:

  1. The alarm reaction
  2. The resistance stage
  3. The exhaustion stage

When you understand this (which he dubbed the General Adaptation Syndrome) and apply it to your family’s personal experience while under lockdown, it helps you understand how all these months of uncertainty, anxiety, and stress can affect your tween’s health.

The stages explained

In the first stage, everyone under your roof recoiled in terror at the prospect of contracting COVID-19 in the early stages of the pandemic, which caught the entire world off guard.

In the second stage, you and your family learned to adapt and strengthen your resistance in order to deal with all of the new aspects of life while on lockdown. For instance, virtual meetings, online shopping, and e-learning.

Now, over a year later, with no signs of the pandemic abating, you and your children are exhausted, and, with lockdown level four rules in place, this exhaustion seems to never end.

How to help your tween

However, there is a ray of hope at the end of the tunnel. When you can’t change a situation, experts say the only thing you can change is your perception of it.

Here are strategies for refocusing your tween’s energy on what they can control:

  • Keep important relationships alive and well. Encourage your tween to talk to their friends whether by phone or online.
  • Remind your tween to concentrate on what they can control right now, rather than what they can’t, such as COVID-19.
  • Help your child stay active. Walking, meditation, gardening, drawing, and baking can keep your child busy.

Lastly, remember…

The only way forward, at the end of the day, is to help your tween gradually reclaim control of their daily life, one step at a time. This includes prioritising sleep, nutrition, exercise, self-compassion, gratitude, and connection.

If your tween starts small, it will add up and they will regain their momentum. It’s also fine if your tween has an off day now and then. Simply encourage them to start over the next day.