How to boost your children's resilience during pandemic – Play and Creative Arts Therapist’s sharing

As the fifth wave of Covid-19 sweeps across Hong Kong, many children are confined to their homes. This can lead to feelings of negativity and a lack of motivation. By ensuring that your child stays active, you can help to strengthen their muscles, bones and cardiovascular system as well as improve their emotion and mental and physical resilience.

Simple games and sports help to boost your children's resilience during pandemic – Play and Creative Arts Therapist’s sharing

Endorphins -the feel -good chemicals

According to research from the Harvard Medical School, exercise can help to reduce levels of stress hormones and stimulate the production of mood-boosting endorphins, a type of chemical released in the brain that acts as a natural painkiller and produces feelings of pleasure. Massachusetts General Hospital has proven that exercise protects against depression – a 15-minute jog or 1-hour walk each day reduces the risk of depression by 26%. There is a wealth of research to demonstrate that children who do regular exercise are less likely to suffer from depression. Also, exercise helps to defer fight-or-flight response, reduce aggression and anxiety, and keep claim.

Regulate emotions through exercise

The dramatic impact of Covid-19 on people’s lifestyles has inevitably led to feelings of negativity among many children. Children often find it difficult to express their feelings and tend to suppress anxiety, sadness, fear and other emotions. Exercise is very good to vent and alleviate these negative feelings.

The mind and body are inextricably linked – when we move our body, our state of mind also changes. When children are anxious, the body responds by contracting the muscles. If your children are in a bad mood, stretching can help to promote positive feelings. To make things more interesting, you can play games with your children, for example, imitating a gorilla to walk or imagining that you are fishes to swim through the ocean. They do not only keep your child entertained, but also help to increase positive emotions and ward off negative feelings. Moving body to music is another great way to let your children relax.

Simple games and sports help to boost your children's resilience during pandemic – Play and Creative Arts Therapist’s sharing

learn new skills and build self -confidence

When children are immersed in an activity, they learn new skills by experimenting with different exercises such as running, jumping, crawling, climbing, squatting, grasping, stretching, relaxing and balancing. Through a process of trial and error, they are able to explore their capabilities and limits, master new skills, and improve their mobility, resilience and self-confidence. If your children don’t like repetitive movements, you can try dancing, trampolining or other activities that require coordination of different body parts, and encourage your children to create their own movements. This will help them to explore what they are capable of, as well as improve their balance, spatial awareness, concentration and self-control.

Simple games and sports help to boost your children's resilience during pandemic – Play and Creative Arts Therapist’s sharing

Learn to deal with setbacks and overcome challenges

Exercises are a safe outlet for venting negative emotions through their bodies. They help to  reduce anger and aggressive behaviors, and to promote positive thinking. As a parent, you can do exercises together with your children – to begin with, choose something simple and watch how your children learn. Once they have mastered some basic exercises, you can let them try advanced ones  and motivate them to get beyond themselves. If your children encounter difficulties, encourage them to keep trying, for example, telling them to take a rest and try again. This will help to foster a positive mindset for dealing with setbacks and overcoming challenges.

From high-intensity training to simple stretching, keeping active will help to improve your children’s physical and mental health and ensure that they maintain a positive mindset.

Simple games and sports help to boost your children's resilience during pandemic – Play and Creative Arts Therapist’s sharing

May Chan

Founder of Lighthouse Play Therapy / www.lighthouseplay.com 

Certified Play and Creative Arts Therapist / Supervisor
Psychological Counselor