Children are highly attuned to the world around them. They may not understand what newscasters are saying during this difficult time of the coronavirus pandemic, but they know that things are different from what they have been and that many parts of life are changing. Children of all ages can deal with worry and anxiety during this time, and special needs children may especially have trouble managing their emotions in the coming weeks. Here is how you can help.
You should know what some of the signs of anxiety in children are. While some children will appear visibly worried and will talk about their concerns, others instead respond in the opposite manner. Some respond in anger, screaming at you or throwing things. Others could become very withdrawn and may appear sad and lonely.
Keeping all of the truth from your children could actually backfire because your child may assume that things are worse than they are. Instead, share the truth with your children but in measured doses. In addition, take some time to reassure them and to talk about what your family can do to make a difference.
Although you may want the latest updates on COVID-19 cases or stock market numbers, this is not the time to have the television set on all the time. Turn off the radio and put down your smartphone or tablet.
As always, children respond well to routines, and a stressful time is one of the most important times to create routines if you have not done so previously. Put your child to bed at the same time every night. Try to eat meals at the same time each day and create a comforting bedtime routine.
Many things have most likely changed in your child’s life. He is probably home from school, and many stores and gathering places are closed. Find some new positives that your child can look forward to, such as a family game or movie night, playing in the backyard, or crafting time.
One of the most important ways that you can help your children feel calmer during this time is focusing on staying calm yourself. As you model self-care, your children will pick up on your positive habits.