Over the past year, children have faced many disruptions in their daily lives and social interactions. These things have contributed to a lot of emotional imbalance and brought on or exacerbated feelings of sadness, fear, and anxiety. Since children are still developing abilities to regulate their strong and ever-changing emotions, they need assistance in strengthening these skills. Providing parents with resources to support their children is crucial. In addition, getting children involved in environments that support their emotional development will help fill the void and rebuild more positive feelings.
The effects of isolation from family and friends have taken an emotional toll on everyone. But for children, the impact was more significant due to less than fully developed self-regulation skills. An essential aspect of this, however, is understanding that everyone has experienced this emotional rollercoaster differently. Children have expressed their distraught in ways ranging from anger to sadness to tantrums and everything in between. This has left parents and caregivers to try to pick up the pieces while also managing their emotional conflicts. The situation has created a more considerable burden on parents and left them feeling unsupported, especially since not all children could return to school and activities.
As we begin anticipating a more “normal” return to school for all children in the fall, we must rebuild and expand on their emotional skills now. The good thing is that we know children are resilient. For parents, this means staying attuned and connected to their children’s emotions as they begin making a shift back to more routine things. To do this, however, many parents may need assistance and direction in getting their child back to a more stable emotional place. Engaging children in a supportive summer program for them and their parents can be a game-changer for mitigating the emotional obstacles present.
At Gentle East Martial Arts, our programs like Early SKILLZ, utilizes the latest findings in science and psychology to implement methods that take a 4D approach to develop skills. This, coupled with supportive resources for parents, creates the best solution to rebuilding developmental skills. Since classes are divided up by age groups, the Instructors can focus on age-appropriate expectations that have the most effective outcomes. The game-based approach promotes fun and socialization leading to a more optimistic outlook for students. This leads to more positive feelings and fosters more effective coping skills.
As we all continue to navigate the emotional ups and downs of our current lives, finding supportive environments for our children that not only rebuild skills they have lost in one area but skills in all developmental areas is vital. And since parents have taken on a vast emotional load with their feelings and their children’s, they need to have resources and support available to them. If we all take the time to be patient with ourselves and each other, more empathy will be shown, so we all have the space to process things and support each other. Then, our children will develop appropriate coping and self-regulation skills so future obstacles will be less emotionally taxing.
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Author: Jennifer Salama of Skillz Worldwide. Edited by Master Eric Rangel-Ribeiro
Jennifer is a 4th-degree black belt and has been training in martial arts since 2001. She has a Master’s Degree in Child Psychology and has embraced the SKILLZ curriculum because of its focus on child development and using martial arts as a vehicle to develop the child as a whole.