It’s the end of recess in the red zone regions of Quebec. Starting today, and for at least 20 days, young people will have to put aside their extracurricular activities, their hockey games and their dance lessons. From now on, the fourth and fifth secondary students will study alternately, at school and at home. A hard blow for teenagers, barely a month and a half after the start of the school year.
Dropout, depression, drug addiction, internet addiction, eating disorders … The Association des paediatres du Québec (APQ) sounded the alarm last week about new restrictions by the Legault government. It has raised the specter of a fourth wave among young people, even more devastating than the first two in the pandemic. A “generational sacrifice,” even said the APQ.
What will be the real repercussions on young people? Difficult to say at the moment. The most vulnerable are likely to suffer, as was the case during the spring containment, say experts interviewed by The duty.
“In fact, on the ground, we see a certain suffering,” says leDr Olivier Jamoulle, pediatrician and head of the adolescent medicine section at the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Center (CHU). But we are still reassured by the resilience capacity of young people. Teens will get away with it, like the rest of the world. “
To get you through the next few weeks, and possibly the next few months, here are eight tips for kids and their parents, formulated from interviews with experts.
We get up and get dressed
Secondary IV and V students now take their lessons every other day from home. They should keep the same routine as when they go to school. “Get up at the same time and get dressed,” recommends Dr.r Olivier Jamoulle.
Get enough sleep, adds psychologist and speaker Nadia Gagnier. “If we lack sleep, we are less able to manage our emotions,” recalls the specialist in family psychology and parenting.
It is also necessary to maintain a “food hygiene”, that is to say to eat “three meals a day, varied if possible”, indicates the team of the section of adolescent medicine of the CHU Sainte-Justine, on its website.
Reinvent the everyday
The usual activities are turned upside down by the partial confinement. No more weekends at home with friends or in the arenas. Children and adolescents must find new hobbies.
“It is not true that teenagers aspire to play board games with their parents, but, in the context, can we try to have family activities instead of being each on our screen? Says Denis Leclerc, president of the Order of psychoeducators and psychoeducators of Quebec. He cites as an example a movie night or a running session with the most athletic people in the house.
Nadia Gagnier emphasizes that young people can be involved in the daily tasks that they enjoy. “If the teenager has already made a pizza recipe, maybe he could make it every Friday? ” she says. One way for him to feel “competent” and useful.
Screens: more flexible rules
In the coming weeks, parents could be more permissive in the management of screens in order to “compensate for the loss of socialization”, believes Denis Leclerc. But beware of cyber addiction to video games, points out psychologist Nicolas Chevrier. “Part of the social life of young people happens through these collaborative games,” he says. They find their friends. These games must be maintained, but with some control. “
To know everything about COVID-19
Walk and be physically active “as much as possible outdoors and during the period of light,” advises Nadia Gagnier. The gray days of November are upon us. “We are entering a period where there is a loss of light, which can have depressive effects,” she explains. The general population does not suffer from seasonal depression, she agrees. “But everyone can live with a loss of energy because of the reduced fall light. “
Communicate with your teens
Story time has long been over, but why not have an evening chat at the end of the day. “We ask our youngster how he is, how his day went,” said Nadia Gagnier. We keep a positive, benevolent dialogue. “
“The most important thing is to listen to what you are going through and not to trivialize it,” adds Denis Leclerc.
No to infobesity
Consuming too much information about the pandemic can lead to anxiety, say the experts consulted. Get information once or twice a day, from reliable sources (such as The duty !), is enough. As for younger children, it is best not to drown them in a flood of information, according to Nadia Gagnier. “We take the pulse of what they hear about the pandemic, we ask them if they have any questions. We respond briefly to [façon] simple. We stop there. “
We calm down, parents
To help their children get through this new lockdown, parents must first deal with their own stress, Nadia Gagnier said. “It’s the principle of the oxygen mask on an airplane,” she explains. When there is a depressurization, we have to put on our mask first so that we can assist someone else. Children feel the stress of their parents, which contributes to increasing theirs, she emphasizes.
One day at a time
The new measures are to remain in effect until October 28, according to the Legault government’s initial plan. “Beware of catastrophizing,” says Nicolas Chevrier. People can say to themselves “maybe this will last for months, years”. Maybe, but what we know now is that it is for another 20 days. “