Anushree CN, Counseling Specialist at Ekya Schools, Bangalore is an ICF certified Coach and certified counselor. She has over 10 years of Corporate experience in leadership and executive roles across various verticals including Operations/ Administration/ Finance/Human Resources in Automobile, IT, Media and Hospitality sectors. Inspired by Maria Montessori’s contributions to the world, she has completed her Diploma in Montessori education as well. She is working towards building her life in teaching, counseling, mentoring and coaching specifically focused on parenting and empowering children to unleash their true potential.
Mental Health is the foundation for overall well-being. The Dalai Lama says – “A disciplined mind leads to happiness, and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering”. This quote holds good for all ages. It helps in achieving developmental milestones which further helps children to acquire emotional wellbeing and social skills.
It is believed that in India every 7th person suffers from some form of mental condition/ disorder. The Pandemic has posed fresh challenges to Education as a whole as well. In tweens and teens especially there is a rise in screen time, social isolation, fear, anxiety, depression, becoming a victim of bullying due to the lockdown. Covid 19 was not only a stress starter but also had negative psychological effects on the students.
Parents are also feeling burdened and seem to be struggling to find a work-life balance. They are finding themselves in a position of helplessness as they see their children go through the tough phase. Hence, it is of utmost importance to become aware of how to be emotionally healthy.
Children are the world’s most valuable resource. They are the foundation of our nation’s future. As a parent, teacher and caretaker, it is essential to look after them and provide utmost care and support. The following ABCD guide will help students overcome the situation and ensure their complete well-being.
Always be patient – Remember that some students need more help and support. Be gentle and approach with calm behaviour, show that you are trying to help them and be very patient.
Be alert for any behaviour change – One of the most important duties of a teacher is to identify the change of behaviour in the students. Slow learning, inactive in class, missing out on class, failing to deliver assignments and remaining quiet are some of the signs signalling that they must be going through some anxiety or stress. You may seek a counsellor’s support in this case.
Communicate – It is one of the best solutions. Listen attentively to their problems and help them understand the situation. Be supportive. This will help build their resilience. They are curious and they will get scared easily of the unknown. Reassure children about their safety and well-being. Explain to them about the situation and the virus, give honest and accurate age-appropriate information. Also, encourage them to share their stories and let them understand the joy of sharing and caring.
Do activities together – Teamwork is dream work. A simple thing such as meditation for a minute before the class commences is helpful to de-stress the mind. Along with learning, do activities together that promote mental health and bring a balance to the mind, body and soul like dancing, cooking, reading, take breaks in between occasionally.
Additionally, you could practice the following as well –
Be mindful – Being aware of what is happening within you e’g – your thoughts and emotions and also what is happening around you?
Empathy – Put yourself in the place of the other person (start by being a good listener). This will help in connecting better with your children.
Establishing healthy routines – A regular routine eases your brain activity and reduces stress so have some activities that you can do with your family and on your own regularly.
Spaces – Provide adequate space to your children especially the tweens and teens. Give them space to express their thoughts, feelings and emotions without fear of judgement.
Normalizing Emotions – No emotion is good or bad. They need to be taught that all emotions are ok to be felt, it is how they respond to such thoughts & feelings that are important. This will create greater self-acceptance and in turn, their self-worth and self-esteem will grow. The best way to teach is to be a role model and accept all your emotions as is and respond instead of reacting.
Constructive Challenges – From time to time if students are given constructive challenges that make them think out of the box and come up with solutions it will help in their brain development and sharpen their intelligence. It is also a good way to keep them occupied.
Seeking Support – Do not hesitate to reach out to your confidant, friend, Counselor when you or your children need support.
Last but not the least, “You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” — Buddha. As caretakers ensure you care for yourself as well. Ensure you get proper rest and maintain a healthy lifestyle as well.
Stay safe and maintain social distance when you step out.