COVID19 has affected us in so many ways. It has caused businesses to change how they practice, employees to change how they work, and parents to change how they balance work and home life. In these trying times, we must not forget the impact it has had on our youth. Oftentimes, children feel like they don’t have control over their lives. They’re made to go to school, eat what we prepare for them, and go to bed when we decide. Yes, COVID19 has thrown us off our routines, but it’s also done the same for our youth. Kids are told they are not going back to school this year- good news for some, not so good news for others, especially the ones that thrive with routines and spending time with friends.
At Sunny Path Counseling, we’ve been working hard to become one of those businesses that does adapt for our child and adolescent clients. We are offering telehealth services to our clients, no matter how small!
Because we’ve grown so familiar with offering telehealth services for children, we feel comfortable offering these sessions even after in-person sessions resume. This can be a great solution for parents who work late, or if someone in the home isn’t feeling well. This articles will inform you of what to expect when seeking telehealth services for your child.
Telehealth for Smaller Children
For smaller children, it is helpful to have a parent on standby. We understand sometimes parents have to work during the day, and it’s not easy to put everything on hold for an hour video session. We ask for smaller kids (under 8) that a parent be available in case there are any interferences with the video session. Most of the time, we will have an activity planned for the child and it is helpful to have a parent help keep the child on track. We also incorporate more time with you as the parent to discuss any recent changes or developments.
Telehealth for Older Children
For older children, we want to work hard to respect privacy and ask that the child is either in a private location, or equipped with ear buds. Children above 8 without significant concentration difficulties are usually able to complete a session individually, without a parent present. Just be sure you are aware of when your next session is scheduled. The child is also reminded of the limits of confidentiality, and knows you will be informed if any significant safety risks are identified.
Telehealth for All Children
You, as the parent might be exposed to private discussions usually held confidentially one on one in therapy. That being said, we ask that even if you hear things that surprise you, please do not question or guilt the child into feeling bad about what is shared. We encourage you to maintain an open-minded and curious mindset. Your level of participation as a parent may vary, but ask your therapist about a family telehealth session to increase bonding and have some fun together!
What to Expect
We love to make telehealth sessions fun and interactive while informative. We believe during these challenging times, having fun is more important than ever. That being said, we’ve learned how to adapt games to be interactive via telehealth such as Uno, board games, and scavenger hunts. These games always have a therapeutic purpose, and are oftentimes adapted to discuss relevant emotional issues. Other possible child telehealth activities include reading books, watching videos, or art directives.
For older kids, we still encourage having fun, but also respect the need for just talking. Older kids can expect to do therapy activities, discuss their topics of choice, or play interactive games.
Have on Hand
Uno, if possible
Your therapist will let you know what you should expect ahead of time by sending you printable materials or asking to have certain materials available for the session.
We thank our clients for adapting with us and staying safe at home. This has been a challenging journey for all of us, but we at Sunny Path Counseling are so grateful for the parents who have prioritized their child’s mental health. To get started with telehealth services for your child, please give us a call or schedule a free consultation.