You may have found your child craving more attention than "normal" during this time of staying home. Your child's life has been modified in ways that he or she cannot understand simply because they do not have a frame of reference for the concept of a pandemic. If you are involved in social media, you have likely seen an abundance of information on helping your child cope (and you may be overwhelmed!). As we wrote in our earlier post about emotions, children are going to have good days and bad, just like we do as adults. Managing emotions is a daily struggle during this unprecedented time, and we all react differently to the trauma given our personality and daily experience. As we struggle to help ourselves and others through this time, let's take a look at how we can do this better with minimal effort.
As part of being an educator, we go through a lot of professional development each year. One of our resources in Midland is a fellow educator and trainer named Michelle Burkhard. Michelle has her own business and is a wealth of information on working (and living!) with others. Michelle was kind enough to share with me this diagram on working with people of different personalities. You may be wondering what this diagram has to do with your child. If you look carefully at this chart, you may see your child fitting into one of these personality types even at their young age.
If you have an understanding of where your child falls on this spectrum, you can better understand how COVID-19 may be impacting your child's sense of self.
The D Type
This child likes to be the boss and thrives on control. He or she is the organizer, is often competitive, and may be directive in play. D type kiddos may feel out of control during this time. Their normal routine has been up-ended. These kids may benefit from a checklist that they help develop or tasks where they can feel in charge. Games with rules may also help these children cope.
The I Type
If your child thrives on relationships with others (the child who NEEDS attention and fun to be fulfilled, often seen as the center of attention during play), you may find that child truly struggling and demanding constant entertainment. He or she could be clinging to you and demanding you "come play!" Help this child connect with others via electronic means and as much in person as possible. Schedule virtual playdates, spend focused family time with this child, and schedule daily pretend play knowing that you will likely be asked to take part.
The S Type
These are your team players. They like to include everyone. They thrive off relationships with others and predictability. These children are caring, often quiet, and don't go out of their way to seek attention. They may come to you for some extra snuggles or quietly retreat during this time. Trying to give these kids some extra attention through shared activities that you both enjoy like such as reading books together, playing a favorite game, or spending time outside.
The C Type
C children may be missing their normal school routine because they need mental stimulation. They thrive off of challenges and problem solving. To help these children, you have to keep them thinking. They may enjoy puzzles, construction, outdoor science activities, cooking, and games that involve solving problems. Your C child may need help with these tasks but enjoy the hands-on process of exploring and trial and error. Consider finding some easy activities online that you can do at home.
What About You?
Where do you fall in the DISC personality chart? Are your needs being met during this time? How can you help yourself or others in your household? Help others understand what you need during this time just as you build in time for them. Be deliberate in this process. We can only help others if we also help ourselves. Building this type of understanding in your household will surely benefit your relationships now and into the future.