Adults aren’t the only ones feeling the stress of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With no end in sight, it is weighing on children in many different ways.
There may be a loss in routine and social traditions, increased anxiety about wearing masks or cleanliness, and general fear of the unknown. Your child might display signs of stress by acting out in school, picking fights with siblings, and have an inability to relax or calm down. Your child might also experience physical signs of stress like sleeping too much or too little, wetting the bed, or having frequent stomach pains and headaches.
What can you do to monitor your child’s wellbeing?
Have regular check-ins – Let your child know that you are there for them. One way to connect with your child and monitor their wellbeing is through check-ins. Inquire about how school is going, what has been on their mind, how they are feeling, etc. Check-ins will help you gauge how your child is doing.
Be curious and ask open ended questions – Open ended questions cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” response. This type of questioning allows a parent to dig deep into issues that may be pressing to your child. “How does (BLANK) make you feel?” and “Can you describe to me why you feel that way?” are great places to start.
Be mindful of the way you express your own COVID-19 concerns – According to kidshealth.org, stress on children may be intensified by more than what is just happening in their own lives. Do they hear you talk about your COVID-19-related concerns? Your stress might be brushing off on your child.
It is important to remember that small issues for parents can be big issues for children. Your child does not need to handle stress alone. Parents are experiencing the stress of this pandemic, and the same can be said for children. As we work on our own well-being and mental health, there are things we can do to support our children as well. Remind your child that stress is a normal part of life and that you will always be there to help support them and keep them safe.
How can you lessen your child’s stress?
- Encourage them to talk about what’s on their mind
- Make sleep and play a priority
- Teach them calming strategies, such as meditation and deep breathing
- Simplify their schedule
- Model healthy coping mechanisms
It’s OK that parents don’t have all the answers. The Village Family Service Center’s licensed professional mental health counselors are trained and experienced in helping children and families deal with a wide variety of issues. Call The Village at 1-800-627-8220 to speak with somebody about extra support for your family.