Levels of stress and anxiety have spiked with the advent of COVID-19. And it’s not just adults who are feeling the effects. Children and teens are also experiencing stress due to changes in routine, worry about loved ones, and isolation from friends. It’s important to be proactive in helping children and teens cope with COVID-19 stress by recognizing the signs and taking steps to provide an environment where they can feel safe and calm.
How Do I Tell If My Child is Stressed?
Everyone responds to stress differently, but here are some changes you may observe in a child or teenager if they’re experiencing anxiety due to COVID-19.
- Crying, irritability, or “acting out”
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Reduced ability to concentrate
- Headaches or other physical pain
- Decreased interest in activities they used to enjoy
- Returning to behaviors they’ve outgrown (e.g. wetting the bed, thumb-sucking, etc.)
How Can I Help a Child Who’s Stressed About COVID-19?
Talk with them. Sometimes fears and worries arise when we lack information. It’s important to let your child know they can talk to you about the changes that are happening in the world. If they have questions, try to provide honest, calm answers in language they can understand and reassure them that this strange situation is only temporary.
Stick to routines. Familiarity can go a long way to reduce stress and calm anxiety. Try to establish a routine for your family that includes work, study, and play time. The world outside may feel chaotic, but you can make your home a place of normalcy where your child feels secure.
Limit news exposure. Children and teenagers often absorb information even when it doesn’t look like they’re paying attention. If you have younger children, try to catch up on the news when they’re in bed or in a different area of the house. If your teen is interested in hearing the latest news about the coronavirus, try watching the news together. Limit yourselves to a set time, and then talk to your teen about what you’ve heard so you can address any concerns they may have.
Need Some Support Helping Your Child Cope with COVID-19 Stress?
We know this is a hard time for many people. That’s why our providers are offering telehealth services so we can continue to provide help and counseling while complying with social distancing measures. If you feel that you need some extra guidance as you help your child manage the stresses of COVID-19, please reach out to schedule an appointment. We’re here to support you and your family.