Be There for Your Child
Extra time with your child at home means you have a unique opportunity to reinforce positive behaviors and help them avoid unhealthy ones.
Watch for These Changes:
- Excessive crying or irritation in younger children
- Return to behaviors they have outgrown (e.g. bedwetting)
- Excessive worry or sadness
- Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
- Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens
- Avoiding school or schoolwork
- Difficulty with attention and concentration
- Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past
- Unexplained headaches and body pain
- Use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs
We may be limited on some of the activities we can do. But we’re not powerless and neither are your children. Here are some ways to support them and remind them that they have some control.
- 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. Speak calmly and confidently.
- Remind them that doctors and researchers are learning as much as they can, as quickly as they can, to keep everyone safe.
- Keep discussions age appropriate.
- Young children can handle brief, simple explanations.
- Upper elementary and middle school children may ask more questions, and may need help determining fact vs. fiction, especially in regard to social media.
- High school children can engage in beginning adult-like conversations and can do research to validate points of view.
- 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 COVID-19, 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 activities or fun activities.
- Be a role model. Take breaks, eat well and get plenty of sleep and exercise. Try to connect with friends and family members.
- Remind them that they have some control and that by staying home and doing their schoolwork, they are helping the whole country. They can:
- Practice good hand washing techniques (at least 20 seconds);
- Cough into their sleeve or a tissue;
- Eat healthy, get enough sleep and avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth.
- Tell your children that you love them and give them plenty of affection.
- Avoid blaming anyone for this situation, and emphasize that everyone working together will help us all get through the toughest situations.