Needless to say this is going to be a very challenging time for yourself and your family. As the lower school counselor of Robert M. Beren Academy, I want to assure you that I will follow-up with students I usually see and will continue to offer the social-emotional support they may need.
I am communicating with other Houston private school counselors who have closed their schools. We are sharing resources. As I come across helpful insights and videos, I will share them with you. Please join the Facebook RMBA page where daily information will be shared.
I am ready to listen to your concerns and problems. Just send me an email to book a time to chat either by phone or facetime. I am available daily from 10:00AM to 3:00PM starting this week.
Below are some recommendations from the World Health Organization for taking care of children’s mental health during these trying times.
Help children find positive ways to express disturbing feelings such as fear and sadness. Every child has his/her own way to express emotions. Sometimes engaging in a creative activity, such as playing and drawing can facilitate this process. Children feel relieved if they can express and communicate their feelings in a safe and supportive environment.
Keep children close to their parents and family, if considered safe for the child, and avoid separating children and their caregivers as much as possible. If a child needs to be separated from his/her primary caregiver, ensure that appropriate alternative care is provided and that a social worker, or equivalent, will regularly follow up on the child. Further, ensure that during periods of separation, regular contact with parents and caregivers is maintained, such as twice-daily scheduled phone or video calls or other age-appropriate communication (e.g., social media depending on the age of the child).
Maintain familiar routines in daily life as much as possible, especially if children are confined to home. Provide engaging age-appropriate activities for children. As much as possible, encourage children to continue to play and socialize with others, even if only within the family when advised to restrict social contact.
During times of stress and crisis, it is common for children to seek more attachment and be more demanding on parents. Discuss the COVID-19 issue with your children and provide honest and age-appropriate information. If your children have concerns, addressing those together may ease their anxiety. Children will observe adults’ behaviors and emotions for cues on how to manage their own emotions during difficult times.
Here is also a meaningful article with tips to “not lose your mind” being home with the kids:
Stacey Laves-Khalifa, L.P.C.
Lower School Counselor
Robert M. Beren Academy