The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says children and teens react to what they see from the adults around them. Thus, when we deal with the COVID-19 calmly and confidently, we provide the best support for our children.
Not all children and teens respond to stress in the same way. Some changes to watch for include excessive crying or irritation in younger children; returning to behaviors they have outgrown (such as 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; unexplained headaches or body pain; use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.
Ways to support your child. Take time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak, Answer questions and share facts about the virus in a way that your child or teen can understand. Reassure your child or teen that they are safe. Let them know it’s ok to 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 become frightened about something they do not understand. Try to keep up with regular routines. Be a role model. Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with your friends and family members through alternative ways during social distancing.
With schools closed, learning activities and relaxing fun helps. Check out www.amazingeducationalresources.com and Explore & More’s Sanity Savers blog at https://exploreandmore.org/blog. For a playlist of Coronavirus music see https://preview.tinyurl.com/tsstzpy. And for a virtual tour of museums visit https://preview.tinyurl.com/wp2gmtw.