Feeling connected and loved by others is important in life.
As parents and caregivers, we need to teach and lead by example for showing our children what it means to have a healthy relationship with friends, family and members of our community. Research shows that people who have a positive and strong social network will live longer, deal with stress better, have a healthier immune system to fight off infections, lower cardiovascular risks and overall feel happier.
People are noticing during this pandemic that when they couldn’t be around their family and friends, they were feeling more sad, depressed, angry and alone. Not to be around people in person and physically connect with them through hugs has been really hard, as we all know hugs and touch release Oxytocin which is associated with less stress and happiness.
We have been noticing our feelings, that sometimes we are forgetting about our children and how they are coping and dealing with these new times. When was the last time you check in with your child to see how they are REALLY DOING? Have they wanted to talk to friends? Have you made an extra effort for your child to connect with their friends – whether through ZOOM, Kid’s messenger or socially – distant in person? How is their relationship with their siblings? We think kids adapt easily, but they are still hard – wired for social connection. I loved Dr. Jody Carrington’s book, Kids These Days. She quotes ” Kids are not attention seeking, they are connection seeking”
Social wellness isn’t about how many friends we have in our life. It’s about how many positive and close relationships we have in our lives. Teaching kids the difference between meaningful relationships that brings us joy and purpose vs having people in your life that bring you down and suck you dry of your happiness is an important lesson to teach early on. I know I have had this talk multiple times with my young daughters, as they’ve had experiences already at age 8 and 6 where kids were not kind to them and lowered their self – esteem.
For some kids, joining a recreation team, like soccer or hockey is important for their overall social wellness. The sense of belonging and connecting with like – minded peers is what fills their cup up. For other kids, having 1 close friend that they colour or draw with is what fill their cup up. Sometimes, having a close connection and relationship with their siblings is just as important as an outside peer . Also remember that you, a parent and caregiver, are part of their social wellness as well and they relationship you have with them will influence how they interact with others at school and in the community.
Tips to Improve your Child’s Social Wellness
Show your children how happy you are when you call or talk to a friend in person
Encourage your children to call or see a friend in person
Help your child reflect on who they are – the better they know themself, the more they can give to others
Talk to you children about their interests, and register them in a group so they can connect with like – minded peers
Volunteer at a local non – for profit and give back to the community as a family
Get active as a family or community – go for walks; say hi to neighbours
Reduce the amount of technology in your family. Connecting with others face to face is so important for our overall wellness, and is lacking in our society (even before COVID 19)
My name is Rachelle and I am the owner and founder of Momentum Health & Wellness . I am devoted to inspire and promote health and wellness to individuals and families. I want to create a community where people feel motivated to share their wellness journey and to encourage one another to be positive role models in their home, at work and in the community. I offer prenatal fitness classes, postnatal fitness classes, fitcamp, personal training, injury rehabilitation, kid fitness and mindfulness and corporate wellness.
Contact me for more information on the services I provide!