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Adjusting to changing family routines

17.12.20

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Adjusting to changing rules and regulations during COVID-19 has been hard for families. Premium health insurer Bupa Global advises on how to support your family in adapting to new routines.

Getting into a new routine can often feel like a challenge.

‘Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic and the changes to our routines have been very traumatic and distressing for many, it is also the case that many of us have established new ones and in doing so made efforts to make life more predictable,’ Dr Pablo Vandenabeele, Bupa Global’s Clinical Director for mental health says. ‘It therefore follows that as rules and regulations change, this means a new change to our day to day patterns and a change to the predictability of our lives, which can be stressful.’

So how can families get back on track?

ESTABLISHING A SCHEDULE

It all starts with establishing a schedule that fits with work and school. That might mean printing out schedules so that children know what to expect, which can be especially useful for more anxious children, as they can see exactly what’s happening and when.

Making sure daily exercise and healthy eating habits are included in your child’s routine is also vital to help them tackle stress. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that active children showed less increase in cortisol levels than inactive children when exposed to stressful situations[i]. Meanwhile a separate 2018 study published in the journal Psychology Research and Behavior that looked at eight to nine-year-olds exhibiting anxiety found that practicing yoga and mindfulness techniques improved their emotional outcomes[ii].

LISTEN TO CHILDREN'S FEARS

If your child has any concerns, whether that be going to school, not being able to see friends out of school or the general changes happening around them, don’t dismiss their fears. ‘As parents, listening to their disappointments and reflecting their feelings open the lines of communication, which will allow children the space to be able to communicate their feelings with us,’ says Cami Endicott, an Upper Primary School Counsellor at Hong Kong International School.

She adds, ‘It’s really important to understand your child’s context and their perspective; be there to listen to the fears and to reassure them using factual information in an age-appropriate way.’

TALK ABOUT EXPECTATIONS AND SEEK HELP IF NEEDED

‘And if your child is anxious about going to school, try to arrange a time to meet the teacher,’ Endicott says. ‘Connecting with the teacher will help the child feel more comfortable.’ Make sure to also talk about the positives that they will experience: seeing friends and teachers.

Dr Vandenabeele adds that ‘if you notice that your child’s patterns of behaviours are significantly changing for example in case of emergence of persistent school refusal, sleep disturbance, emotional distress, loss of appetite, or irritability then I would recommend that further help is sought from your doctor.’

BUPA GLOBAL RESOURCES FOR CUSTOMERS

Bupa Global has resources to help you and your family cope. If you’re a Bupa Global customer and have a health concern the Global Virtual Care (GVC) service provides confidential access to a global network of doctors by telephone or video call, with virtual appointments available 24/7 in multiple languages - enabling you to speak to a doctor at a time that suits you. Please visit our COVID-19 information hub for more details on how you can access our GVC service.

Alternatively, if you have access to Bupa Global through your employer – you and your family may be entitled to use the Employee Assistance Programme. The programme entitles Bupa Global policyholders to access trained healthcare professionals 24 hours a day, 365 days a year via phone, email or online to talk through any work, life or personal concerns.

For more information about Bupa Global health plans call 0371 346 0407 or visit bupaglobal.com/withyou

Read the full article here

Calls may be recorded. Bupa Global is a trading name of Bupa Insurance Limited and Bupa Insurance Services Limited. Bupa Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Bupa Insurance Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Global Virtual Care is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority or by the Prudential Regulation Authority. Global Virtual Care is provided by Advance Medical, a Teladoc Health Company, and Everyday Resources is provided by Workplace Options LLC who are both service providers for Bupa Global. Bupa Global is not responsible for any actions or omissions carried out by these third parties in the provision of these services.

[i] Higher Levels of Physical Activity Are Associated With Lower Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenocortical Axis Reactivity to Psychosocial Stress in Children. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2013; DOI: 10.1210/jc.2012-3745

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130307091552.htm

[ii] Effect of mindfulness and yoga on quality of life for elementary school students and teachers: results of a randomized controlled school-based study. Psychology Research and Behavior Management, 2018; Volume 11: 81 DOI: 10.2147/PRBM.S157503

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180410100919.htm

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