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Helping Kids Cope with COVID-19

By now, all of us have been coping with COVID-19 for a considerable amount of time. We’ve all become well-versed in terms like “quarantine” and “isolation”, and the constant barrage of news may be taking its toll. Children especially may be feeling this strain, and it’s important to help them cope during this time.

Watch for Behavior Changes

Know that the warning signs of stress will look different for each child. However, here are a few common things to watch out for:

  • Excessive crying or irritation
  • Going back to previous behaviors they’ve outgrown (i.e, accidents or bedwetting)
  • Excessive worry or sadness
  • Unhealthy eating or sleeping patterns
  • Teens “acting out” or being irritable
  • Avoidance of school or poor performance
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Avoidance of previously enjoyed activities
  • Head or body aches without explanation
  • Substance use
Keep the Conversation Going

Although initial questions about the virus may be answered by now, don’t stop conversations. Ask regular, open-ended questions to keep a pulse on how your child is doing. Be reassuring and empathetic, and help them focus on things they can control. As the situation develops, children may develop new concerns, and it’s important to help them work through these things. Limiting the amount of information your child receives from the news or social media can help reduce their stress.

Help Kids Take an Active Role

Help kids feel more in control by giving them things they can actively do to help stop the spread of the virus. Continue to emphasize the importance of mask-wearing, social distancing, and hand washing. Don’t underestimate the value of being a role model, too; be sure to demonstrate these behaviors for your kids.

Keep a Regular Routine

It’s been a weird blur of time since March, but you can help recreate a sense of normalcy by establishing a routine for your kids. Set a schedule for their days so they know what they can expect. Incorporate exercise and outdoor play to keep them active. Also, help them stay socially connected through virtual options. Finally, help them recognize fun things they can still enjoy, such as a movie night or more time spent with family.