COVID-19 arrived unexpectedly and changed life for most people in very big ways. Many adults have struggled to deal with the changes and fear caused by the novel virus, but children are especially susceptible to anxiety and fear during this difficult time.
They don’t have years of experience dealing with and overcoming unexpected obstacles in life and may need extra help coping with the current pandemic. If you think Coronavirus is having negative effects on your children, here are some suggestions on how to cope with anxiety.
Have Open Discussions About the Virus
Some parents think it is best to try to hide information that may be considered scary from their children. In some situations, this may be the best course of action to take. However, it is important to note that Coronavirus is visibly changing the world we live in, and your silence about the issue could make your children more anxious.
Children have vivid imaginations, and if you don’t explain the situation to them in a way they can clearly understand, they are likely to imagine the worst-case scenarios. To help your children cope with the current pandemic, have open discussions about the virus. Explain that while it’s important to take the virus seriously, it should not cause excessive stress. Focus on taking ownership of things that are under your control, including wearing masks, social distancing and washing hands frequently.
Invite your children to ask questions about the virus. Answer the questions calmly and honestly. Your children need to know that you are a safe source of accurate information.
Create Healthy Habits
One of the keys to minimizing feelings of helplessness in your children during this uncertain time is to create healthy habits. Explain that these habits will help your family prepare to fight off the virus if it enters your home and can potentially help keep your family healthier in the long run against all illnesses.
- Eating a healthy diet with plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables
- Exercising regularly
- Getting adequate sleep
- Practicing relaxation and mindfulness as needed to minimize stress and improve resilience
- Focusing on being positive instead of being negative
There is scientific evidence that suggests that these habits reduce anxiety and stress and can actually strengthen the immune system, so you are better prepared to fight off COVID-19 and other illnesses that may come your way. You may also find that a homeopathic product for stress reduction (such as Brillia) can help your kids cope with the stress of Coronavirus.
Establish a Routine
The current pandemic can make kids (and adults) feel like they have no control of their environment or situation. That’s why it’s so important to establish a routine that helps your family maintain a sense of normalcy. You have control over the environment in your home and your daily routines. Lack of routine tends to increase stress and anxiety, while a well-established routine does the opposite. You don’t need to schedule every minute of every day, but do what you can to set a routine for the most important aspects of family life, including mealtimes, homework and bedtimes.
With disrupted schedules and more time spent at home, it’s easy to waste a lot of time in front of screens. While some screen time is harmless and can be used to educate kids, it’s important not to let it go overboard. According to research, higher levels of screen time in children are related to mental and physical health concerns, including depression and obesity. In addition, studies have shown that with consistently high screen time children can start exhibiting symptoms of ADHD.
To help your children maintain optimal mental and physical health during the current pandemic, it’s important to limit screen time. You can easily do this by setting a designated “screen time” each day. At the end of the designated screen time, encourage your children to play actively and imaginatively. These simple tips can help you combat stress and anxiety in your children and maintain a safe place where they can go to feel comfortable and at ease. There are many blogs on Brillia's Resource Center that share advice on ways to try to limit screen time.
When it comes to anxiety, holistic approaches can be the most effective way to reach maximum results. Programs that include healthier lifestyle recommendations are greatly successful and should be considered when trying to find solutions for your children.