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Ways to Support Your Child & Reduce Stress During COVID-19

March 16, 2020

Often times, children (and teenagers) react to situations based on how they see adults around them behave. By navigating the latest news related to COVID-19 (coronavirus) in a calm and confident manner, you can provide the best support for your children. Arm yourself with knowledge about the coronavirus from reputable sources so that you’re better prepared to deal with questions your child may have.

Signs of Stress in Kids

According to the CDC, some common signs of stress to look out for in your children include:

  • excessive crying or irritation in younger children
  • returning to behaviors they have outgrown (ex: bedwetting)
  • excessive worry or sadness
  • avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past
  • unexplained headaches or body pain

5 Ways to Support Your Child During the COVID-19 Outbreak

#1 – Talk to your child about COVID-19.

Take the time to have a conversation with your child/teen about COVID-19, and be sure to answer any questions as well as share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child can easily understand.

#2 – Provide reassurance.

Kids need reassurance that they are safe and that things are going to be ok. Let your child know that it is perfectly normal to feel upset. Share with them healthy ways that you manage your stress so that they can look to you as a role model.

#3 – Limit your family’s exposure to the media (and to others).

While the media can be informative, it can also easily overwhelm. Limit your family’s exposure to media coverage of the pandemic, including social media. Children may sometimes misinterpret what they hear on the news, which can generate fear over things that they don’t fully understand.

Also important is to limit outside interactions with others by practicing “social distancing”. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), social distancing is defined as “remaining out of places where people meet or gather and avoiding local public transportation.

This is not the time for play dates, parties or other public gatherings. Instead, consider individual activities such as biking or hiking where sports equipment isn’t shared, and it’s easier to maintain a safe distance from others.

#4 – Maintain regular routines as much as possible.

With many schools closed and activities cancelled, it has most families scrambling. Take the time to sit down and create a schedule for your kids. Mix things up with activities for learning and balance it out with time for fun as well.

#5 – Be a role model.

Kids are always watching you! Just as you’d put your oxygen mask on first before helping others on a plane flight emergency – make sure you’re taking care of yourself. Get plenty of rest and exercise, and practice healthy eating habits. Also be sure to stay in touch with family and friends via phone, video chat or email. Just because we’re practicing social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t stay connected to those you love in other ways!

[source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html]


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