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7 Ways We Can Help Children And Teenagers Cope With The Impact Of COVID-19

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Social distancing to slow COVID-19 spread is difficult for children and especially teenagers, who might feel cut off from their friends. Many also faced disappointments as they canceled or postponed important milestones like sports seasons, graduation, college visits, birthdays, and other long-planned events.

Below are a few ways you can support your child trying to navigate this pandemic:

Talk With Your Child And Their Feelings About COVID-19

Many school-age children and teenagers are seeing daily news reports of COVID-19 and its economic and social impact. A lot of uncertainty is out there, so do not presume they understand the repercussions. Ask open-ended questions: What are your big problems or concerns? Do you have questions I can answer?

When you validate their feelings and understand how much the crisis has changed their lives, you can help to reassure them and fill in any knowledge gaps.

Have Patience And Be Loving – Even When You Do Not Agree With Them Or Their Choices

Children will feel many emotions, and they may do and say things that you may not pleased with. A stable relationship with at least one loving, compassionate person is one of the major factors shielding a child from the adverse effects of crisis. The notion they have someone they can depend on to help keep life stable gives them a good defense against the negative effects of the pandemic.

Model Healthy Coping Behavior

Children will sense that you are nervous, even if you try to hide it. If your child asks you if you are all right, it is okay to be honest. Read fact-based information about the virus and getting up to date on school, state, and local community news. Talk with loved ones and friends who support you and whom you trust to confide in. Get enough sleep and exercise. Relieve anxiety, with meditation, yoga, reading, or watching a favorite TV show. Be a role model for your children so they can learn resilience and self-care.

Agree On Screen Time During School Days With Your Children

If your school is teaching online, children and teenagers will have more free time to study. This will most definitely leave them with more screen time. For example, make sure to speak to your teen about how now an especially valuable time is to stop getting addicted to technology. Experts caution that too much screen time will cause riskier habits that can harm their emotional and mental well-being such as lack of sleep and the inability to be away from their devices for too long.

Maintain Playtime For Children

Play is the normal way any child interacts and experiences things. Children will share with us about what they have learned and how they feel, even though they do not understand it entirely. This is also a safe distraction from stressful situations and offers an outlet for relieving tension and frustration from the crisis.

Engage In Social Distancing Activities

Find ways for your children to stay active and keep their minds off things. Go outside for a stroll or run, either by themselves or as a family. Take part in online fitness classes. Support local businesses by letting them choose a restaurant to order delivery or take out. Challenge them to research and plan vacations for 10 places they want to see one day in the future. Encourage them to seek new interests or master skills.

Inspire Your Children To Act

With the ongoing crisis, children need to rediscover a sense of self-control and resilience. Help them channel their thoughts and learn about what they should do to help others. Look for online volunteer opportunities. Volunteer for online tutoring to nearby children or relatives. Even small acts of kindness like a phone call or a text message can make someone who is isolating alone feel much better.

Seek Professional Help If Necessary

If your children are showing self-harming habits or have a history of mental or behavioral problems, get counseling and/or family therapy for your child. Parents know their children best to ensure they get the best treatment for their symptoms. They need your support and acceptance overcome this pandemic.

For more information or to schedule appointment online please visit our Child Counseling page or call at 919-647-4600.

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