There are many things that can be done to support your child emotionally during the crisis

By Staff Report

The outbreak of coronavirus is stressful for most people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. The Centers for Disease Control’s website offers advice to parents on how to help young people deal with the mental health issues of COVID-19. Below is its advice from the webpage www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html

Children and teens react, in part, on what they see from adults around them. When parents and caregivers deal with the COVID-19 calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children. Parents can be more reassuring to others around them, especially children, if they are better prepared.

Not all children and teens respond to stress in the same way. Some common changes to watch for include:

  • Excessive crying or irritation in younger children

  • Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (for example, toileting accidents or bedwetting)

  • Excessive worry or sadness

  • Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits

  • Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens

  • Difficulty with attention and concentration

  • Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past

  • Unexplained headaches or body pain

  • Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

There are many things you can do to support your child:

  • Take time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child or teen can understand.

  • Reassure your child or teen that they are safe. Let them know it is OK if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.

  • Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.

  • Try to keep up with regular routines. Since schools are closed, create a schedule for learning and fun activities.

Robert Airoldi