COVID and Children: Helping Your Child Navigate the Challenges of the Pandemic
Parents and children are experiencing worsening mental health problems during the pandemic. Anxiety and depression are on the rise and are often exhibited in children by sleep problems, irritability, changes in eating habits, or a decrease in school workload output. Worry and anxiety are expected and normal emotional responses for our children when it comes to starting a new school year. But with the current changes to the school format, whether that is distance learning or hybrid instructional models, that anxiety may steadily increase if they are not able to seamlessly make that adjustment due to their temperament or learning style.
With that being said, there are a few things that can be done to help your child navigate through the emotional challenges they may be experiencing. Below are some suggestions:
- Have your child journal or verbally express their feelings. This is a good way to check in with your child and also provide some social connection they may be missing.
- Try to keep a positive attitude around your child and encourage them to focus on the positive. Point out ways you have noticed their growth throughout this pandemic. Positive reinforcement is a great tool to boost your child’s self-esteem and outlook in difficult situations.
- Keep a routine in place with the option for flexibility. Structure is critically important for children in these times. But make sure you model ways to adjust quickly if things need to change. Monitor your own emotions and show your child that change does not always have to be met with a negative reaction.
- Seek professional help. There are several therapists in the area that specialize in working with children and teens. They can provide a clearer picture of what may work for your child and provide you support as you implement the needed changes.