Is your teen feeling down? You can help change their mood and be more in control.
Here are some tips to help your teen feel better, cope with the COVID-outbreak, and manage the stay-at-home blues.
Encourage your teen to do more fun, feel-good activities.
Finding fun activities to do right now is challenging, but hugely important. Here are a few ideas that are safe and easy to do: https://www.path2purpose.info/post/take-action-improve-mood
Encourage your teen to stop the negative thinking and make the best of each situation through the art of the reframe.
It is easy to go negative these days. The days at home are long and difficult. Bad news is everywhere and easy to find. Put the brakes on negativity. Help your teen acknowledge at least one thing each day that is going well. Maybe the weather is nice, or they accomplished a hard homework assignment, or they mastered a new hobby or skill. You can model being thankful for all the things you have, instead of concentrating on everything you don’t.
Help your teen to stop blaming themselves for things they cannot control.
We are quick to blame ourselves when bad things happen. And right now it seems like many things in our daily lives are out of our control. Help them acknowledge what is out of their control, and remind them what they can control.
Assist your teen in working on communicating with friends and family.
It is easy to lose touch with friends when we are working and learning from home. We aren’t seeing each other daily or have those impromptu conversations. It can take a toll on any relationship. Encourage your teen to remain in touch virtually, to make phone calls to friends (even if they feel “out of touch”), to go on a physically-distanced walk with a friend outside or in the park, or to virtually watch a movie/show online together while keeping the phone on. These “social” activities keep us connected throughout physical distancing.
Encourage your teen to work on getting more support from friends and family.
Even though we are physically-distanced from friends and family, we do not need to disconnect entirely. Encourage your teen to reach out to a classmate or friend from school they have not been in touch with for a while. Send a birthday card to a friend. Have your teen call or write to family members to check in. Remind your teen to check in with teachers and staff at school they like, and to ask for help on homework from teachers when they need it. Teachers are also missing their close connection with students, and welcome a hello now and then.
Encourage your teen to do things that help you and others in your community.
Even with physical distancing, there are ways for your teen to help out, and in doing so, feel some accomplishment. Maybe buy groceries for an elderly neighbor, participate in a food drive, or foster a pet. At home, teach your teen to cook a recipe, and invite them to help make dinner one night.
Model health activities to your teen, like exercise, hobbies, and practicing mindfulness.
Teens model their behavior on others. If parents are scrolling on their phones all the time, so will teens. Model behaviors that increase enjoyment and reduce stress, such as:
· Exercise: walking/running outside or doing an online yoga or Pilates video
· Play with your pet.
· Hobbies: drawing, cooking, reading, or any non-screen hobby.
· Mindfulness: learn how to practice mindfulness yourself and encourage your teen to do it too.