With Houston schools shifting to Home-Based Ongoing Mobile Education (H.O.M.E.) and extracurricular activies on pause, families are facing new challenges. Children and teens respond to stress differently than adults. Some may be very clear about their feelings and concerns, while others may not be as clear in understanding ot expressing their emotions.
Be on the lookout for changes in mood. A normally talkative and active child may become more quiet and over-attentive to adult conversations and the news; this child can start asking a lot of questions. A child who is normally calm may become easily irritable or moody, and may want to be left alone. These sudden changes are the way our children let us know something is bothering them when they can’t put words to what they feel.
We're here for you!
If you feel that your child or teen may be having a hard time coping with the current events, the licensed professionals on Vecino’s counseling staff can help. Call us today for a teletherapy appointment.
Here are four tips from the licensed professionals on Vecino’s counseling staff to help children cope with stress and manage their fears surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tip #1: Take time to talk about COVID-19
Children tend to look to their parents and the adults around them for how to respond during difficult times. Take the time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak and offer them the reassurance that they need to cope with stress. Ask them what they have heard about the virus and correct any misinformation, give them the space to talk about their fears and feelings, and speak calmly and reassuringly about all the efforts that are going on to keep people safe and healthy.
How to talk to children about COVID-19 (click here for Spanish version).
Tip #2: Create and maintain a new daily routine
With kids being out of school and in the house all day long, sticking to a routine may seem nearly impossible. But all experts agree that routines can return children some of the structure that they have lost, helping them ease anxiety by knowing what their day is going to be like.
Try to make a schedule that is as similar to a typical day for your child as possible. Getting plenty of sleep, eating healthy meals, exercising, doing homework or schoolwork, as well as relaxing and playing, are all essential parts of a child’s routine. Socializing is also extremely important for children, so reach out on the phone to friends, close relatives like grandparents, cousins, and other loved ones that you can’t see in person at the moment.
Tip #3: Limit exposure to the news
Being informed, especially about what’s happening in your community, is more important now than ever. Reading what experts and trusted sources are saying about the virus can help you make the right decisions on how to protect your and your family’s health. But the constant exposure can also fuel your children’s anxiety as well as your own.
There are thousands of free, kid-friendly resources that you can access from your smartphone or computer. For example, Houston Public Library offers free online resources for kids. You can check them out here. Our parters at Literacy Now have a life daily storytime online for young children. You’ll find it here.
Tip #4: Be a role model
It’s normal to feel stressed and overwhelmed right now. But the way we cope with our own anxiety can have a big impact on our children and teens. Remember that kids learn by example, so be a good role model by taking care of yourself both mentally and physically.
Because children cope with stress differently from adults, it’s important to remind yourself that some days are going to be harder than others. Don’t be too hard on yourself or your kids if you didn’t manage to get everything done or if your children are acting out more than usual. Instead, focus on the positive and offer reassurance and love whenever they need it.
We’re here for you!
Here at Vecino, your children’s health and wellbeing continue to be our top priority. If you feel like your child or teen is having a hard time coping with the current events, and you don’t know how to help them, our licensed professionals in the counseling department can help.