Tough times also bring opportunities for families to come together and value the things that really matter. Here are some suggestions:
- A strong social support network can protect us from stress. Maintain contact with friends, extended family, coworkers, and neighbors.
- Be part of a religious or community group that work to bring peace and positive social change. Encourage your children to join social group – PARSA has a scouts group for children.
- Eat meals together. Family meals are a safe place where everyone can talk about their day and listen to each other. Support your children to have a tea and cookie gathering or lunch with their classmates in the house.
- Be sure that each family member gets some exercise and sleep. These are excellent antidotes to anxious or depressed feelings. You can join a gym or there are plenty of videos on Youtube for exercising at home.
- Help others by volunteering and donating time to worthy organizations. It is never too early—toddlers can share toys, children can go with you when you bring food to a neighbor, encourage teenagers to volunteer in an after-school program. These actions allow your children to appreciate what they have and helps them understand their ability to contribute to the good of others.
- Explore fun, low cost activities. Plan trips and explore new places in your area. Find unusual and inexpensive restaurants, making the point that you’re helping the economy.
- Establish a schedule for regular family conferences to keep everyone informed about how the drop in income will affect everyone’s life. Including women in these discussions is important for family unity and success. Discuss, in age-appropriate terms:
- Life style changes
- Decisions about priorities for spending money
- Involve your children – both boys and girls – in helping out at home and support their development by giving them diverse responsibilities.
- Be a model for your children on how to solve problems, how to deal with a crisis and how to make decisions. When they see you handle a situation with confidence they learn that they too can handle life’s challenges.
- Help your children focus on the positive aspects of their lives and on the activities that they have control over.
The good news is that kids are resilient and are generally optimistic. Help them develop a hopeful outlook for the future. Children who believe that they can take steps to make their lives better and who believe that adults are working to create a better world have good mental health even in troubling times.
Created by Professor April Naturale from tips shared by Dr. Richard Gallagher who appeared on ABC World News with Charles Gibson in a segment about kids and the economy.