All Posts Tagged: COVID-19

student wearing mask in classroom

Handling Anxiety About Going Back To School During The Pandemic – 2021

School is starting up for the 2021 – 2022 education year and most districts are returning to in-person learning. While some kids and parents deal with anxieties during any given school year, COVID-19 and the Delta variant are still very much in the news, which has added more uncertainty for everyone.

Virtual learning took place this past school year and many kids may now find it difficult to adjust to being away from the safety of their homes. Those children who already suffered with pre-existing depression or anxiety might have an even more difficult time adjusting than normal. Even well-adjusted children may experience undue stress.

What Signs Of Stress Can Be Observed In Children During The COVID-19 Pandemic?

Generally speaking, kids are resilient. Most children will manage this transition just fine with help and support from their parents. Those who already struggled with anxiety or emotional problems before the pandemic might need additional assistance though; it’s important that you keep a watchful eye on them because they could be at risk for increased depression or anxiety.

Signs of stress to watch for include (by age group):

Preschool age – Children in this age group may be more whiny or clingy than usual. They may have problems sleeping, have nightmares, or become afraid of the dark when they weren’t before. You may also find that they withdraw or their behavior may regress. They may lose their appetite or become picky eaters.

Ages 5 – 9 – Children who are in elementary school also may be clingier. They may be angrier or more irritable and cry or otherwise resist to going to school. They might have nightmares and sleep problems, along with poor concentration. In addition, your child may stop showing interest in friends or activities they used to enjoy.

Ages 10 – 19 – Adolescent children may show everything from sleeping and eating disturbances to agitation or arguments with others. They may have physical complaints such as headaches or stomach aches. They may also exhibit poor concentration or engage in some type of delinquent behavior.

Back To School Anxiety For Parents During The Pandemic

The pandemic has made in-person schooling nerve-wracking for some parents. They are apprehensive about their child’s health and well being, but they also have to try to reassure their child that school will be safe for them. It can feel like a balancing act between supporting your kid while also telling him/her to be sure to wear their mask or stay socially distant from others. It’s all very stressful!

Dealing with stress and fear is a learned skill. Children need to learn how to react when faced with difficult situations. They benefit from having someone show them how to deal with worrisome situations without panicking and who can find positive ways of handling their fears.

To keep them safe in school, ensure your child knows how to wear a mask correctly (it should cover their nose and mouth). Teach them to carry and use hand sanitizer and how to wash their hands (wash for the time it takes to sing the birthday song). Make sure they understand how social distancing helps to reduce the spread of the virus. Teach them to cough into their elbow or a tissue and to throw a used Kleenex away immediately.

Lastly, protect your child’s health by encouraging them to eat well, get plenty of sleep and exercise daily. This will help build their immunity so they can fight off illness in the future.

Supporting Students Return To School During Covid

Going back to a physical classroom is a transition and, as with any big change, it will take time for your child to settle into a new routine. Expect there to be times of distress and upset for the first couple of weeks. This is particularly true during the pandemic when kids are having to adjust to so many new things.

Your child may be overly tired during the first few weeks of school. They might act out more often or be more emotional than usual. If there are major shifts from their normal behavior, however, such as refusing to take part in things they usually enjoy or withdrawing from friends, this could signal problems. You should consider seeking help if this behavior doesn’t go away after a couple of weeks.

Also, make the time to sit down and talk to your kids during the first few weeks of school. Encourage them to tell you what’s bothering them; acknowledge their concerns even if you don’t agree with them. When you know what is concerning your child, work with them to come up with a plan for addressing it. What can you, as the parent, do to help? Is there something the child can do? Does the school need to get involved?

Self care is vital for maintaining your own physical, emotional and mental well being. One way to do this is by engaging in calming activities such as yoga or crafting. What were some ways that made you feel better before the pandemic? Use what worked for you during previous times of stress, be it reading, exercising, listening to music, etc. Even just taking a small break can help you mentally regroup and make you feel less overwhelmed. Take a short walk around the block or indulge in some deep breathing exercises. You don’t have to take a long break – even just taking 15 minutes here and there will help.

We Are Here For You

If you are concerned that your child is struggling with anxiety or depression when they go back to school, contact The Children’s Center for Psychiatry Psychology and Related Services in Delray Beach, Florida or call us today at (561) 223-6568.

Read More
boy wearing a back pack

How Will The Delta Variant Affect Going Back To School?

The coronavirus pandemic has affected our world in so many ways and we aren’t in the clear yet, despite vaccine availability. The virus continues to evolve, which is especially concerning if you’ll have children attending in-person classes this fall; as children head back to school, they do so under the specter of the Delta variant of Covid-19.

The pandemic response is deeply impacting our children. Virtual learning has become common, so kids who will be attending traditional classrooms this year may not have done so during the last school year. As a result, they may need to cope with new rules and regulations designed specifically for the safety of all students. In addition, extra-curricular programs like sports or clubs may be closed due to fears of exposure. It is also likely our children will have less of a chance to gather with friends at school as teachers and administrators attempt to maintain social distancing.

What Is The New Delta Variant Of Covid

The Delta variant, originating in India and first making news around the middle of June, has caused concern among health experts as cases become more prevalent.

The new strain is spreading more rapidly than COVID-19 strains before it. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the Delta variant is now responsible for more than 80% of new cases in the country.

Delta is different from prior variants because it is not only much more contagious, it also grows more rapidly in the respiratory tract and is making people sicker faster.

Are Children At Lower Risk Of COVID-19 Than Adults?

Originally, Covid-19 was affecting mostly older adults. Children were less vulnerable to the virus. That is no longer the case. Because the Delta variant is so transmissible and vaccines aren’t yet available for children younger than 12, kids are now at a higher risk of contracting Covid than they have been in the past.

Research, however, has proven that vaccination is an effective way to protect against COVID-19. For this reason, it’s safest for all children 12 years of age and older to be vaccinated from the disease. However, unvaccinated children are also safe in the classroom as long as they take precautions such like masking and limiting social contact during their time at school.

Delta Variant Symptoms In Children

The symptoms of the Delta variant are basically the same as those we all know by heart now: fever, coughing, shortness of breath, headache, and the possible loss of taste and / or smell. The problem with the Delta variant is the fact that it has a greater chance of becoming serious – especially among the unvaccinated.

Delta Variant Back To School Safety Tips

After vaccination (which may be available to kids younger than 12 by the end of 2021), wearing a mask is the most important thing your children can do in the classroom. This goes for school staff and teachers, as well – regardless of vaccine status.

Although schools will try to keep kids socially distant, this can be a challenge when they are indoors. It may be hard for them to physically distance themselves from friends after possibly spending the last year separated from them through virtual learning. In addition, the fact that they have to stay socially distant can create anxiety for some kids who may fear that others will get sick and pass the virus on to them.

We know that children naturally crowd together during more social times, such as at lunchtime. While recent studies have shown that we only need to be three feet apart (instead of six), you will still want to teach your child the importance of wearing their masks at all times, except when actively eating or drinking. Also, remind your kids to wash their hands often during the school day and teach them to cover their sneezes and coughs with their elbow.

At the same time, try to avoid making your children feel overly cautious to the point that they are afraid to do anything. While it’s good to make them aware of their part in helping to stop the virus’ spread, it can be upsetting and frustrating for them to be constantly on guard and worrying about everything little thing they do.

Lastly, it’s important to make sure your child’s school has good policies in place to limit infection. Since masking provides extra protection against the virus, there should be a universal masking requirement in the school. In addition, the school should take steps to immediately quarantine students or staff who show signs of being symptomatic.

To support your child’s mental health during this school year, remember to keep to a routine. Doing so gives kids a sense that things are under control. Also be sure to foster an environment in which your children know that you are willing to discuss any worries or fears they might be facing.

We Are Here For You

If you are concerned that your child is struggling emotionally or showing signs of pandemic anxiety or depression, contact The Children’s Center for Psychiatry Psychology and Related Services in Delray Beach, Florida or call us today at (561) 223-6568.

Read More
Children wearing face masks

What We Have Learned From 2021

No one can deny that 2021 has been a momentous year. It has had a mixture of the good, the bad and the ugly for sure. It has at times been frightening, confusing, comforting and educational. We have witnessed a very unusual presidential election, a subsequent denial by some of the validity of the election and an unheard of polarization of our peers and lawmakers. Most critically, we have endured a gift that keeps on giving; the novel coronavirus that has killed countless people world-wide and more fellow Americans than we would have ever anticipated. We have had to learn the meaning of the word epidemiology as it relates to health and wellness. Unfortunately, we now know explicitly what a spike protein is and looks like. More than ever before we have been influenced (for good and bad) by the internet and social media. Although we have been witness to conspiracy theories in the past, but this year has certainly been a boon time for them.

So it is important for us to sit back and take stock of the emotional and psychological impact of these events.   A major fallout has been the confusion over what is fact and what is fiction. We have seen the major news networks disagreeing on many important issues. Who to believe? Proponents of networks that broadcast their unique take on the news may be diametrically opposite of the proponents of the “other” networks. To avoid getting into trouble I will leave the network names blank, but I am sure you know what I am talking about. There was a time in the 1950s and 1960s when veteran newscasters like Walter Cronkite, Huntley and Brinkley, Douglas Edwards educated us nightly on national and world events. Marshall McLuhan’s “the medium is the message” conveyed the power and influence of the media. Somewhere during the subsequent decades all this has changed. It became apparent to television and radio that communicating news is basically a form of entertainment. Like most popular entertainment venues it becomes essential to be able to sell the programs to the masses. Media outlets have always been for profit businesses (exceptions being Public Radio and Public Television) but it seems that profitability became linked to the entertainment value of their shows. Newscasters and news commentators became the entertainers that we see today. Walter Cronkite would not succeed as a newscaster in 2021.

Read More

Coping With COVID-19

The virus pandemic has certainly had an impact on all of us. Not being able to meet with my patients in person has required a major clinical adjustment. Thankfully, telemedicine has provided me with the ability to provide necessary ongoing treatment. But I also know firsthand how difficult and taxing social isolation and sheltering in place can be.

What has made this viral illness so stressful? After all, we have been dealing with annual episodes of influenza for decades. We also successfully made it through the fears of the bird flu, SARS, and swine flu. What makes Covid 19 so special and so scary? Covid 19 is called a novel virus because it is a protein that is totally new to the world’s human population’s immune systems. Our immune systems therefore do not have the capacity to adequately fight off this infection. The elderly and those with chronic illnesses are especially at risk. But 20 to 65 year olds are not immune from infection and risk severe illness if they are not cautious and follow CDC guidelines.

We can all agree that there are reasons to be fearful of this unique virus. We would all agree that sheltering in place and social isolation plays a role in our unease and insecurity. The inability to see loved ones and friends certainly takes a toll. Job loss and the subsequent financial stressors contributes as well. Lack of definitive treatment or a protective vaccine adds to our worries. But the level of emotional unrest seems to be much greater than what these issues would suggest. So what accounts for our level of apprehension?

Read More
Telehealth

A Message About Telehealth Amidst COVID-19

We hope that you, your children and families are doing well in the midst of this unprecedented time. After carefully considering the CDC guidelines, we at The Children’s Center have decided that we will no longer be conducting therapy in our office at this time.

In good news, we have the capability to conduct appointments either over the phone or via Telehealth. We are happy to keep all appointments during this time. If you already have a scheduled appointment but you would prefer to postpone your to a later date or an alternate time, we are happy to do that as well.

We greatly appreciate your understanding during this difficult time. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or to schedule an appointment at (561) 223-6568.

Read More
Call Us (561) 223-6568