FIREFLY providing tips for parents during COVID-19 pandemic
Jesse Bonello - Staff Writer
Despite office closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, FIREFLY is offering tips and information for parents through social media, their website, and over the phone to help families discuss and cope during the current pandemic.
FIREFLY emphasized the importance for families to take care of their mental health during this time.
“It’s important for parents to deal with their own anxiety because it is an unusual and uncertain time… Take a breath and take time to calm yourself down before responding to your children because they will pick up on your cues,” said Karen Ingebrigtson, CEO of FIREFLY.
“The three really core things that are good for mental health are a good diet, good sleep, and a chance for exercise, so get some movement in during the day… I would say focus on positives… We know that from a mental health perspective that is tremendously powerful in terms of dealing with anxiety,” she said.
With children potentially having questions for their parents regarding COVID-19, Ingebrigston said parents can use various methods to provide children with comfort and support.
“There’s lots to be reassuring children about because, especially if they’ve been following the media a bit, they can be quite worried. When children know that they have things that they’re doing to keep them safe, so more of a focus on washing hands, keeping physical distance, and following all of those recommendations, those are the kinds of things then that families and children feel they have control over in environments that feel a little bit out of control,” she said.
“The other thing for children is they need routine. It is comforting to know that there’s structured meal times, structured bed times, and structured play times throughout the day, especially now with children being at home. There’s time to do school work, time to do lunch, time to do activities, those kinds of things. Children really function so much better with that… It’s really helpful for children,” she continued.
In a post on their Facebook page, FIREFLY said they have a Child and Youth Outreach Worker, who is located in Dryden, that’s accessible for families and youth during this time.
“This period of uncertainty, fear of illness, social distancing, school and recreation limitations can increase stress for children and families. FIREFLY and DRHC (Dryden Regional Health Centre) are pleased to share that, Deandra Leroux - Child and Youth Outreach Worker - is working and reachable from 3 p.m. -11 p.m. daily to support youth, families and caregivers of children aged 0-18. She can be reached by call or text 1-807-216-0075,” the Facebook post read.
Through Facebook, FIREFLY also provides tips from their Child & Youth Mental Health Counsellors for speaking to children about COVID-19.
Those tips include staying calm, validating your child’s feelings, taking cues from your child, not getting into a ‘what if’ cycle, and noticing when your child’s anxieties have begun to interfere with their life.
For more information visit their Facebook page @fireflynw, visit their website www.fireflynw.ca, or call their Central Intake line at 1-833-696-5437.