Staying home during the COVID-19 crisis is supposed to be a safety measure that protects our community, ourselves, and our children from further spread of the coronavirus. Unfortunately, for many children, home is anything but a haven. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, set aside to raise awareness about child abuse and to promote the physical and emotional well‐being of children and families in safe, stable, and nurturing environments. That responsibility has become even more acute during this pandemic when so many families are home alone together, isolated and often invisible to their neighbors. “This is a particularly dangerous time because many of the ‘respite’ options, such as school and work, are not available to parents and children,” says Pamela Cornwell, Saint Francis Ministries’ clinical director. “This can create tension and pressure in the home. So, it’s important during this time for us all to remain vigilant and to reach out to anyone we might have concerns about.”
So, you’re three weeks into working from home, and you feel exhausted. Yeah, you’re still wearing your sweatpants and t-shirt, but the lifestyle has lost its lustre – especially if haven’t washed those sweatpants for a few days. You’re still chugging along, getting your work done, but some days you just feel like you’re losing steam. Isn’t working from home supposed to make you feel happier, freer, more relaxed? Well, for the most part, yes. But there’s a lot going on right now. Most of us are inundated with a flood of information, warnings, and distractions. We’re getting it from the news, social media, and even our workplace as organizations struggle to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Here are a few ideas to navigate the noise and come out of this with most of your mental health intact.
“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you." But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.” Luke 1:26-29
Support. Provide respite as you’re able. As overwhelmed as the rest of us are, foster families must also ensure the health and security of foster children in their care. Drop off a home-cooked meal, shop for groceries, volunteer to play with the kids in the back yard or to take them for a walk around the neighborhood. Give them a break. Give. Kinship and foster homes care for multiple children at a time, and all those children are out of school and spending lots of time together inside the house. Consider donating gift cards, art and craft supplies, board games, bottled water, and snacks. You could also put together a “care package” with basic needs. Or make a financial gift to community providers like Saint Francis Ministries or through CarePortal, who need your support to meet the needs of foster families and children.
As an associate of the United Nations Department of Global Communications, Saint Francis Ministries is committed to sharing knowledge and information developed by the network of experts at the UN and associates from all over the world. If you have a teenager or are supporting someone who does, please read and share this article from UNICEF, to protect and help teens care for their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
So, your supervisor sent you home to work until this whole coronavirus thing blows over, or at least until it starts to. Trouble is, your children’s school did the same thing. Now you have two jobs. How do we keep our employer happy, while ensuring our kids are educated, entertained, and occupied? Here are a few tips to keep parents sane and children less anxious.
Since 1993, KCSL’s Parent Helpline (1-800-CHILDREN) has offered a voice who will listen and empathize with callers’ concerns and provide help with simple questions or complex situations. Information, referrals, and support are provided statewide anonymously to parents, relatives, caregivers, youth, and professionals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.