TOUGH as a move back to remote learning and lockdown life may be, children can show great resilience with the right tools in place, leading psychologist Addie Wootten says.
The Smiling Mind chief said having strategies in place, like practising mindfulness, can help children proactively manage their mental health in adapting to more changes, especially with uncertainty about milestone events, like grade six graduation.
"There's no doubt the continual shifts in routine, uncertainty about the future and lack of regular social and sporting events has been really hard on kids. They rely heavily on structure and routine to keep their worlds moving," Dr Wootten told The Courier.
"The good news is that while this period of time has been really tough, children can be resilient. The ones that will be able to be most resilient are those that are able to identify, communicate and regulate their emotions effectively."
The good news is that while this period of time has been really tough, children can be resilient.Dr Addie Wootten, Smiling Mind chief executive officer
Smiling Mind, a not-for-profit mindfulness organisation, has built free online care packs with resources to support children at home and in class during the pandemic.
Dr Wootten said parents, teachers and carers were grappling with their own challenges in lockdown but it was important to reassure children, to let them know it was okay to be worried and their concerns were valid.
She said open talks were vital and, if the child was interested, this lockdown could be a chance to introduce mindfulness or meditation strategies they could build on for life.
"It's important to communicate that here in Australia, we're in the best position possible to fight this virus. Explain that highly qualified people around the country are working hard to overcome it, and we're making good progress," Dr Wootten said.
"It can also be helpful to remind them that the current restrictions won't be forever."
Headspace Ballarat and Blue Light Edge Program representatives told The Courier open dialogue and reassurance was also important for youths in lockdown - and so too was having a bit of fun.
To access care packs: smilingmind.org.au
For mental health support, handy contacts include:
- Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800
- headspace Ballarat (for 12-25s and parent support): 5304 4777