As parents deal with a heavier plate due to COVID-19 precautions and a new life in quarantine, we must also stop to think about what children are facing too. Many of them won’t get to see their close friends for months, had major milestone events cancelled, and are learning how to adjust to a new routine in isolation as well. This adjustment can definitely be a process for everyone, but if you start to notice stress, depression or increased anxiety levels that seem concerning it’s important to catch early on.
What can these signs look like?
It is recommended that parents reach out to a professional if a child displays extreme behavioral changes or any of the following for a prolonged period of two weeks or more:
Preschoolers —bedwetting, decreased appetite, attached to parents, afraid of the dark, trouble sleeping, withdrawn from usual activities, thumb sucking, or regressed behavior.
Elementary — inability to concentrate, aggression, night terrors, avoiding friends or normal activities, irritable, or overly clingy.
Adolescents— disturbed eating or sleeping, agitation, more conflict involvement, unusual behavior, and decreased concentration.
How to keep kids calm
Stick with the basics – By now your child has probably heard a lot about COVID-19 from their friends or social media. Answer their questions about the illness, be open about it but just tell them what they need to know. Don’t over-explain information that could make their anxiety worse.
Lead by example – It’s important to be model of calmness when having these sit-down conversations, if children see other adults worried about this illness, they could very likely develop the same fear.
Cut down media time – The main topic right now on news outlets is COVID-19 pretty much around the clock. Although it can be good to stay updated on the latest, having too much exposure to those new stories can also be scary for a child to see and hear about on a daily basis.
How we can help your child
Village Health Partners, a branch of Village Pediatrics, is a family practice that focuses on whole-person wellness, which includes mental health. As a patient of Village Pediatrics, you child also has access to counselors with extensive backgrounds as a resource to ensure their mental health is in the best possible condition during these trying times.
If you would like to know more about each counselor before scheduling an appointment, please visit their profiles below: