The COVID-19 pandemic has created an infinite number of challenges for families and their children. It has impacted work for adults, and the education of children. It has also added stress to families because routines have been interrupted and many social activities have either changed significantly or been canceled entirely. Despite the challenges, it remains very important that families focus on maintaining their social-emotional health and the social-emotional well-being of their children.

What is social-emotional health? Social-emotional health is generally considered to include a person’s ability to:

  • Manage their emotions
  • Manage their reactions to events and/or information
  • Manage their relationships with others

Being able to manage emotions, reactions, and relationships is important for people of all ages. Because it applies to adults and children, managing social-emotional health can be an activity for the whole family! Please see the strategies below that can help your family’s wellbeing. If one or more of them catch your attention, be sure to click the attached link to learn more!

Making sure you get enough sleep can be a challenge sometimes, but it can also make a big difference! Enough sleep allows your body and mind to rest and get ready for the next day. Depending on your age, you may need different amounts of sleep. For example, it is recommended that a six-month old infant gets at least 12 hours of sleep, for 8-year-olds, ten to twelve hours, a 13-year-old needs at least eight hours, and adults can often get by on seven hours of sleep. Getting enough sleep is very important for children as it helps with their mental and physical development. LEARN MORE

A big part of taking care of your social-emotional (and physical) health is developing healthy eating habits and sharing good nutrition with your loved ones. Healthy eating has both a positive impact on your life now and in the future. Making healthy eating decisions does not mean only eating fruits and vegetables but making sure you have a variety of foods on your plate. For example, eating fewer sweets (like candy or ice cream) or including more lean meats (like chicken or fish), legumes (beans, lentils, peas) and nuts in your daily choices. Always remember, eating healthy can still be tasty! LEARN MORE

It is important to include physical activity into your schedules, even if it is just for five to fifteen minutes a day. The good thing is there are so many ways you can get your heart pumping, and aerobic exercises are a great place to start. Aerobics means “with air.” Doing some aerobics (such as walking, jogging, riding a bicycle, etc.) gets your blood pumping faster, makes your heartbeat faster and makes your lungs take in more oxygen. There are many benefits to practicing aerobic exercises regularly, even when you need to do it indoor! LEARN MORE

Children today are experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety. To help them take a break, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages families to teach meditation strategies to their children (read more here). Meditation is the simple act of training oneself to be aware of our thoughts and feelings, and providing oneself with a clear, healthy perspective so that good decisions can be made. Best of all, parents/guardians and children can both practice meditation in as little as five minutes. A few easy steps can help you and your family set the tone and meditate. LEARN MORE

Inspiration can take on many forms and feeling inspired is similar to feeling motivated and/or encouraged. Inspiration is the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something and you may get that feeling from someone or something. Inspiration makes us feel enthusiastic and wanting to achieve things. On those days when we may need a little boost, try to think about what inspires you! What makes you happy? What keeps you going? Remember, everyone is inspiring in their own unique way. LEARN MORE

Appreciation is taking the time to show you care, and research shows that appreciation increased levels of happiness. We can feel appreciation for people, objects, events, behaviors, or moments and we can express our feelings in many ways. Showing our appreciation can give us a big boost! LEARN MORE

Staying connected to people is not only important for our physical and mental well–being but can help lower stress levels for adults and children. During this difficult time, it is important to remain in touch with others to feel connected and supported. Though you currently may not be able to give a hug, calling someone and hearing their voice, or seeing them on a video chat, can brighten anyone’s day. LEARN MORE

Managing the social-emotional health of yourself and your child is critical. The strategies above can support the social-emotional needs of the whole family are being met. It a challenging time for everyone, but there are activities that can help! Give one of the ideas above a try today!