46.6 F
Fredericksburg
Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Buy now

How to Parent Kids with Emotional & Special Needs During COVID-19

By Amy Taylor

Father and daughter

The COVID-19 pandemic has influenced every aspect of our daily lives for the past few months. Parents and children are spending more time together with less daily structure from places like school, daycare or working outside the home. Janet Suffel, LPC, owner of Healing Hand Christian Counseling, shares her best advice for parenting children with special needs during this pandemic.

She advises parents to first and foremost validate their children’s feelings. 

“One of the things they have to do is give their children permission to have the feelings they have. So many times, I see a child who isn’t allowed, for example, to get angry, or if they do, they get in trouble. It’s OK to have any emotion that they’re having,” she says. “For example, say, ’It’s OK to be mad at your sister, it’s not OK to hit her,’ or ‘It’s OK to be sad but you can’t spend all day in your room crying.’

“If you don’t validate that child’s feelings…chances are they will become angrier and the next time they’re going to stuff it inside and not let anyone see it. If they do that enough, that can lead to full blown depression and suicidal ideation.”

To help mitigate the effects of isolation, she tells parents to get their kids moving and outside. 

“Get them out of the house, even if it’s just playing in the backyard. Go outside throw a ball with them. Take a walk with them,” she shares. “Don’t let them spend 24 hours a day on electronics. They still need to have limits on electronics. You can add a little time to pre-COVID screen time limits but make them earn it by doing an extra chore.”

If your child is struggling emotionally during this time, don’t hesitate to get them professional help.

“If you think your child is struggling extremely hard with not being able to have playdates or not being able to go out, get them help. It doesn’t say ‘I can’t parent my child; I’ll take them to this person.’ It just means what your child is going through is bigger than you right now. They need someone [who] can validate their feelings and that can be one of the hardest things for a parent to do,” Suffel says.

Related Articles

Top 10 Elf on the Shelf Pranks Kids Will Love

SPONSORED BY Elf on the Shelf has become a fun, family holiday tradition in many households. Need inspiration for some new pranks? Try some of...

15 Fun Christmas Traditions to Start with Your Family

The holiday season is truly a magical time of year, and part of what makes it so memorable and joyous are the traditions we...

ASK MOM: Mom feeds blaming habit in teenage daughter

THE PROBLEM: My 16-year-old daughter tells me everything. I know this is a good thing (at least, I think it is), but I feel...

Stay Connected

11,622FansLike
0FollowersFollow
2,318FollowersFollow

Sign up today!

* indicates required



FredParent eletters


Latest Articles

Top 10 Elf on the Shelf Pranks Kids Will Love

SPONSORED BY Elf on the Shelf has become a fun, family holiday tradition in many households. Need inspiration for some new pranks? Try some of...

15 Fun Christmas Traditions to Start with Your Family

The holiday season is truly a magical time of year, and part of what makes it so memorable and joyous are the traditions we...

ASK MOM: Mom feeds blaming habit in teenage daughter

THE PROBLEM: My 16-year-old daughter tells me everything. I know this is a good thing (at least, I think it is), but I feel...

Hannah Barnaby

It’s no wonder why Hannah Barnaby of Charlottesville, Virginia, began writing books. With almost every job she’s undertaken, there’s been a relation to books,...

RACSB: A Parent’s Guide to Important Conversations

Let’s talk! Parents have the power to make a tangible difference in kids’ post-pandemic lives. Parents are among the unsung heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic. From...