Support for Families Amidst Uncertain Times

During these uncertain times, you may notice that Tourette Syndrome and Tic Disorder symptoms may intensify, as well as the co-occurring conditions like ADHD, OCD, Anxiety, Depression and more. Children in particular may have difficulty understanding what is going on, and may have trouble expressing their feelings. Below are resources that can support the community:

  • Pay attention to your own state. Allow yourself to soothe your own anxiety first.
    • Children pick up on your emotional state, body language, and tone of voice
    • Place your hand on your heart literally or figuratively to soothe yourself
      • Acknowledge your own vulnerability.
      • Calm your nervous system.
  • Pay attention to your children. Often times, worry and anxiety are not expressed verbally, but manifests in strong emotions, clinginess, belly-aches, or headaches.
    • Use self-talk to help model for your children.
      • Sit with and acknowledge feeling stressed and then being okay with it.
      • Talk out loud about what you will do by yourself or together.
    • Go for a walk.
    • Cook something.
    • Color or draw.
    • Read.
  • Assure your children, at their level, that you are all doing everything you can.
    • Wash hands often.
    • Get a good night sleep.
    • Introduce them to fresh air when possible.
  • Social distancing does not have to mean lack of connection.
    • Make phone calls, FaceTime, write letters for loved ones, and make cards.
  • Listen and validate your children.
    • Compliment them for doing the right thing rather than lecturing.
  • Reflect and act from your values.
    • Anxiety fear and worry are not values, but reactions.
    • Model and talk about acting from your values such as:
      • Gratitude for the mail carriers, grocery workers, hospital staff.
      • Compassion for those who are adversely affected by COVID 19.
      • Talk about and practice values such as love, kindness and creativity.
  • While schools are closed and children are home:
    • Remember the goal is to keep anxiety at a minimum.
    • Daily schedules help some children and families and can provide more anxiety for others.
    • A routine may be more helpful than a schedule.
    • If a daily schedule is helpful, be sure to build in plenty of time for choices.
    • Build in time for fresh air, like a walk with social distancing.
    • Any kind of movement and/or exercise will benefit everyone.
    • For school work, it’s a good time to keep work to a level of interest and practice.
      • If the work becomes stressful for your child, the work may need to be at a practice level for skills already learned.
    • If you have access to the internet, there are museums, national parks, and more are attractions that are providing virtual tours.
    • Puzzles, games, and drawing and coloring are all soothing and educational.
  • This is not the time to be hard on yourself.
    • Many of us are working from home or going to work and cannot provide one-to-one monitoring for our children.
    • Keep your social media time to a minimum. Many people are posting the great activities they are doing at home with children. But don’t forget that this is also a great time to practice self-compassion and self-acceptance for you and your family.
  • Practice calming strategies as a family or model them.
    • Activities include journaling, drawing, coloring, reading, deep breathing.
  • This may be a good time to work on some life skills such as:
    • Dressing, laundry, balancing a checkbook, tying shoes.
    • Make it simple, taking each lesson one step at a time.
    •  Stop and revisit another time if it provokes anxiety.