All Posts Tagged: kid’s mental health during covid

mask-wearing student sitting in classroom

In The Classroom: Supporting Your Child At School During Covid

Vaccines are beginning to be dispensed, so hope for an end to the pandemic is on the horizon. Life, however, is still far from normal. Education has been deeply impacted by the virus response. Virtual learning is now widespread, while kids in traditional classes are having to cope with untraditional rules and regulations aimed at keeping us all safe.

If your children are attending in-person classes, there is still a different aspect to their normal day-to-day learning. Many extra-curricular programs have been closed or are operating in a limited way. Staying socially distant means kids don’t interact the way they used to. Even classroom participation may have been reduced in an effort to keep kids and teachers safe.

Back To School Tips For Parents During Covid

When your children are in a classroom, it may be hard for them to physically distance themselves from friends. The fact that they have to do so can create anxiety for some kids who may worry that peers or teachers might get sick and pass the virus on to them.

Remind your children to wash their hands during the school day and wear their masks. Teach them to cover their sneezes and coughs with their elbow.

But, at the same time, try to avoid making them 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 or frustrating for them to be constantly on guard and worrying about everything little thing they do.

Helping Kid’s Mental Health During Covid

To support your kid’s mental health during covid, try to keep to a routine. Children feel more secure when they know what to expect. Although they may complain about having to do homework at a certain time or go to bed at the same time, keeping a routine makes them feel like things are under control.

Also ensure that your children know that you are open to discussing their worries and fears. Check in with them regularly to ask if they are concerned about anything at school or if anything is bothering them.

Watch for signs that your child is anxious or depressed. Maybe they aren’t eating well or seem withdrawn or irritable. Have you noticed that their sleeping habits have changed? Are they complaining about frequent stomachaches or headaches? These changes can indicate that your kids are experiencing heightened stress and anxiety that needs to be addressed.

Acting out their fears through play or by writing or drawing can help when a child can’t find the words to tell you how they are feeling. If you are concerned they may be struggling emotionally, set aside time to interact with your child. Pay close attention to their words or ask questions about their drawings – these can give you insight into how well they are coping.

Take Care Of Yourself, Too

While you are helping your child, don’t forget to support your own mental and emotional health. Aside from navigating the innumerable changes brought on by the pandemic, many families have faced financial impacts, job loss, and the loss of loved ones to the virus.

There is no doubt that most people’s anxiety levels have increased. This upending of our normal world and the resulting reduced social connections have led to a corresponding increase in depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. If possible, stay connected with family and friends virtually for support. It can also be helpful to look for online support groups.

Meditation and deep breathing exercises can help to calm your thoughts, as can limiting sensationalized news coverage as much as possible. Try to distract yourself with a hobby or by getting some exercise, either in the home or out in a nearby park.

Anxiety and depression can show up in several ways. Keep an eye out for the signs of heightened stress that were mentioned in the prior section – in both you and your children.

If you notice concerning changes like these, it may be time to consider calling a professional – especially if these changes are becoming more obvious or have lasted for more than two weeks.

We Are Here For You

For more information, 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 facemask

What About Kid’s Mental Health During Covid?

2020 has changed our world dramatically. We know that adults are struggling with the challenges brought on by shut downs and worries about protecting themselves and their families from the virus. But what about kid’s mental health during covid?

Our children have had to deal with their own upheavals. They’ve gone from familiar school routines and activities to shortened sports schedules, reduced or eliminated school programs and navigating through virtual learning while being isolated from friends. All of this disruption has raised their own stress levels.

Signs Of Pandemic Stress In Kids

Just as with adults, stress and anxiety in children often shows up in both physical and emotional ways.

Emotional symptoms can include:

  • Expressing fears about their health or that of a family member
  • Trouble concentrating in school, or slipping grades and test scores
  • A worsening of mental health conditions they may already have
  • Not wanting to do things they usually enjoy
  • Expressing fear and / or hopelessness about the future
  • Angry outbursts, crying or tantrums

Physical symptoms can include:

  • Nightmares and problems sleeping
  • Gastrointestinal problems, such as nausea, stomachaches or diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Changes in eating patterns
  • Muscle tension or, conversely, indifference and listlessness

What Should I Do If I Am Concerned With My Child’s Well Being Due To Covid-19?

Check in with your kids – It’s easy for children to get carried away by their fears, while keeping their worries to themselves. This is especially true because kids can sometimes have trouble expressing their anxiety. For that reason, it’s a good idea to check in with your kids periodically. This way, you can answer any questions and help to calm them.

Limit catastrophic thinking – Whether we realize it or not, kids pick up on their parent’s distress. As difficult as it may be for you to deal with your own concerns and “what ifs” about the impact of the pandemic, it is best if you can refrain from talking too much about them around your children.

We aren’t saying that you should act like your fears aren’t real issues, but it can help children feel more secure if parents can deal with their concerns in a healthy way.

Catastrophic thinking (i.e: automatically envisioning the worst in a situation) teaches kids to model the same behavior when dealing with their own stress. You want your child to come out of the pandemic stronger, not someone who is terrified of what the future may hold.

Think positively – You’ve probably heard the saying, “fake it ‘til you make it.” That applies with positive thinking as well.

A 2020 study by Marmolejo-Ramo, et al, published in Experimental Psychology showed that when your facial muscles turn up in a smile, “the emotion implied by the covert facial expression seems to engage a wide range of motor systems that, all together, are representative of the ongoing emotional state.”

What this means is that forming a smile with your facial muscles activates neurons in your brain. These neurons actually put you into a more positive emotional state. If you feel more positive, your outlook will be more positive, too.

Take a break from the news – The next thing to do is to take a break from your news media exposure, as well as your social media feeds. Constantly watching and reading about pandemic death counts and hearing doom and gloom stories can make anyone feel helpless. They keep our emotions and pandemic anxiety elevated.

Use the pandemic as a way to reset. Eat meals together with your kids, do activities as a family, and enjoy the things you can right now. Find creative ways to engage your kids, no matter how lame they say you are.

Boredom breeds pessimism and a more negative outlook, so try thinking out of the box. Do something totally silly with your children, like making one of those videos we’ve been seeing of dads with dancing with their kids. What your kids will remember is that you spent time with them. Doing something fun will teach them to look for the positive side of a challenging situation.

Keep to a routine – Kids feel more secure when they know what to expect and can anticipate what’s coming. Having meals or doing school work at a certain time, setting time aside for exercise and family activities, and going to sleep on a schedule all contribute to helping us feel in control. It’s okay to be flexible but, as much as possible, try to stick to the routines you had before the pandemic.

Helping Kid’s Mental Health During Covid

If your child is struggling with anxiety or depression during the pandemic, our compassionate child psychologists are here for them. For more information, 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
Call Us (561) 223-6568