5 Tips to Help Reduce Kids’ Stress During a Pandemic
Just like adults, kids can experience additional stress from crises such as COVID-19 (coronavirus). Children can be impacted in different ways depending on their age. Very young children may not be able to understand what’s going on, yet feel others’ stress; older children may be struggling with social isolation and remote learning; and teens may be experiencing all of these as well as disappointment and anger from missing out on important activities, events and milestones.
The following may help your child better cope during stressful times.
1. Talk with them. The key word here is “with” (not “at”). Remembering age appropriateness, use these tips:
- Start a conversation. Ask what they’ve heard, what they think and how they feel.
- Be honest and open. Explain what you know and don’t be afraid to say there are things you don’t know yet. Stick to the facts and what they can do to stay safe: handwashing, social distancing, wearing a mask, etc.
- Keep it simple. Avoid going into great detail unless your child is old enough and interested.
- Be reassuring. Set a calm, reassuring tone to help ease their concerns. Doing this in a time of unknowns will benefit your child now and in the future. Remember that kids have limited life experience and need to know “this too shall pass.”
2. Make healthful habits fun. Play music, make up songs, and/or dance to make hand-washing and cleaning more fun. Have younger children wash their toys and dolls’ hands. Involve children in exercise and healthful cooking—explaining these things may help them stay healthy all the time.
3. Use discretion with kids’ exposure to TV news. Children are especially vulnerable to feeling scared and helpless when bombarded with heavy messages. Be mindful of watching the news with children around.
4. Be careful with what you say and where you say it. Kids have a way of hearing you even when you think they aren’t listening or are out of earshot. While you may be understandably stressed and fearful, be careful not to escalate topics or use dramatic language that may negatively affect your children.
5. Help your kids stay calm. This isn’t easy, especially when it’s hard to remain calm yourself. But remember your children are learning how to handle difficult times from you. Take this opportunity not only to help them through stress, but to equip them with powerful, positive life skills.
During challenging times, we are here to help. If you are a DaVita dialysis patient, please reach out to your social worker for more tips and additional support. You can find more information about coping with COVID-19 here.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice from a medical provider.
Please check with a medical professional if you need a diagnosis and/or for treatments as well as information regarding your specific condition. In case of emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency department.
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