How to Take Care of Your Child’s Physical and Mental Health During Covid Pandemic?
Many pediatricians are also offering telehealth visits during the pandemic. An estimated 40,000 children in the United States have lost a parent to COVID-19, for example. Many families have also lost financial stability during the pandemic.
At the same time, children have had vital support including school, health care services, and other community support interrupted by the pandemic. And many have experienced or witnessed increased racism and xenophobia during the pandemic, particularly toward families of Asian descent. In addition to keeping children physically safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is also important to care for their emotional health. Below, we summarize recommendations for promoting the child’s physical and mental health in the face of these types of adversities and provide a list of helpful resources.
Parents, caregivers, and other trusted adults can serve as sources of social connectedness; they can provide stability, support, and open communication. They can also help children and young people express the many different feelings and thoughts in their mind. You should also engage your children in open and honest conversations about how to stay safe online while shopping. Make sure they understand the value of kind and supportive interactions and that mean, discriminatory or inappropriate contact is never acceptable. If your children experience any of these, encourage them to tell you or a trusted adult immediately. Be alert if you notice your child becoming withdrawn or upset, or using their device more or less than usual, it could be a sign that they are being bullied online.
What’s more, until there’s a widely available vaccine, it’s possible that we may continue to experience disruptions to daily life in the months ahead. That’s why the sooner we help our children navigate this new, unpredictable normal, the better it will be for their mental health now and in the future, Dr. Stevens says. Self-efficacy is the sense of having agency or control—an especially important trait during times of fear and uncertainty. Children often feel more in control when they can play an active role in helping themselves, their families, and their communities. When children are bored, their levels of worry and disruptive behaviors may increase.
Although you want to help your child feel in control, it’s also necessary to set limits. For example, you may encourage structured and unstructured time, as well as supervised and unsupervised time as appropriate. Kids feel empowered when they know what to do to keep themselves safe. You can also guide them for proper online shopping with secure and original websites.
It’s also important to continue to remind them that learning can happen anywhere – at school and at home. Regular hand washing is an important precaution to protect children (and all of us!) not just against COVID-19, but other diseases as well. And encouraging frequent handwashing with your children doesn’t need to be a scary conversation. Sing along with their favourite song or do a dance together to make learning fun.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruptions to daily life and children are feeling these changes deeply. While a return to school will be welcomed by many students, others will be feeling anxious or frightened. Here are tips to help your children navigate some of the complicated emotions they may be facing with going back to school.
Adults can provide options for safe activities (e.g., outside play, blocks, modeling clay, art, music, games) and involve children in brainstorming other creative ideas. Children need ample time to engage in play and other joyful or learning experiences without worrying or talking about the pandemic. The primary factor in recovery from a traumatic event is the presence of a supportive, caring adult in a child’s life. This resource offers information on supporting and protecting children’s emotional well-being as this public health crisis unfolds. Get immediate help in a crisis and find a health care provider or treatment for substance use disorder and mental health. Learn about the social, emotional, and mental health challenges faced by each age group, find out what you can do to help, and access age-group specific resources to get you started.
Adults should instead make themselves available for children to ask questions and talk about their concerns. They might, for example, provide opportunities for kids to access books, websites, and other activities on COVID-19 that present information in child-friendly ways. In addition, adults should limit children’s exposure to media coverage, social media, and adult conversations about the pandemic, as these channels may be less age-appropriate. Ongoing access to news and social media about the pandemic and constant conversation about threats to public safety can cause unnecessary stress for children.
Children’s well-being depends on the well-being of their parents and other caregivers. Caregivers must take care of themselves so they have the internal resources to care for others. To this end, adult caregivers can engage in self-care by staying connected to social supports, getting enough rest, and taking time for restorative activities (e.g., exercise, meditation, reading, outdoor activities, prayer). Seeking help from a mental health provider is also important when adults struggle with very high levels of stress and other mental health challenges.
Resources For Communities, States, Territories, And Tribes
Below are some resources to help you learn more about PFA and other tools for parents and caregivers to help children and young people cope. Here are some quick ideas for how to get conversations started with children and young people about how they are feeling and what they are struggling with regarding COVID-19. You don’t have to use these exact words—you know best how to speak with your child, adolescent or youth. In addition, how we talk to children and young people varies depending on their age and developmental level. This helps children find positive ways to express difficult feelings such as anger, fear or sadness.
If you are an essential worker or can’t work from home, your child may worry that you’ll get sick. Or if you now work from home but are helping your child navigate remote learning, that can cause stress for both of you. Some are experiencing the mental health consequences of social isolation due to remote learning. Those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or learning disabilities may struggle especially with remote or interrupted learning. If you are feeling overwhelmed or need someone to talk to about a family situation please reach out to connect with one of the resources below or the mental health crisis numbers. Use educational resources that your child’s school provides for a portion of each day; the amount of time may vary depending on the age of your child.
The ongoing stress, fear, grief, uncertainty created by COVID-19 pandemic has weighed on all of us, but many children and teens have had an especially tough time coping emotionally. The first place I would go is your counselor at your school or your primary care provider – either your family practice doctor or your pediatrician. Our young children, our adolescents and our young adults are all going through very different things. They are losing celebrations like birthdays, graduations and all those fun milestones. Even before the coronavirus hit, depression and anxiety were on the rise in children ages 6 to 17, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention . Most important of all, seek help if you notice any changes in how your child is behaving or feeling.
We do not do our best work when we are overstressed, and it can impact our health as well as our child’s. They “absorb” what is said to others and pick up on nonverbal body language. The calmer you seem, the more relaxed your child will be, which helps children better understand the information they are told. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has put together a list of words and actions that can help parents and caregivers discuss COVID-19 with their children. Here are a few ideas on how to have fun while learning how to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19. If your child’s school starts to return gradually, your child may be anxious about being separated from his friends.
The more you talk to your children about bullying, the more comfortable they will be telling you if they see or experience it. Check in with your children daily and ask about their time at school and their activities online, and also about their feelings. Some children may not express their emotions verbally, so you should also look out for any anxious or aggressive behaviour that may indicate something is wrong. Approach this conversation with empathy, saying that you know she is feeling anxious and that it’s healthy to talk about our worries and emotions. Internet has been a place where they need to be careful now. Children nowadays shop online for shoes and other items by themselves, which shall be keep an eye over by parents.
Children may also get upset or frustrated if they find it hard to wear masks. It can be challenging to stay positive, especially if you’re struggling with your own stress. But try to stay positive and relay consistent messages that a brighter future lies ahead. It helps to set aside time to take care of yourself when possible, and seek the support you may need for your own mental health. Practicing mindfulness, focusing on the present moment, yoga or stretching can help the entire family build coping skills. Build in down time for the whole family to connect and relax, enjoying a nap, movie time or simply spending time together.