Coronavirus pandemic: How it can take a toll on our kids’ mental health

Digital Now

COLORADO SPRINGS — Adults across the globe are dealing with the stress of the coronavirus pandemic, but it can hit our kids a bit differently.

“Often times, kids do not initiate conversations with their parents about the concerns that they might be having. And Parents sometimes worry about intimating the conversations because they’re afraid that they’re somehow going to create more anxiety or more stress as a result of initiating these conversations,” said Jessica Hawks, clinical psychologist, for Children’s Hospital Colorado.

Children’s Hospital Colorado is reminding parents to check in with their kids and start the conversation about the virus now.

“Because kids are younger, they often times misinterpret or misunderstand information that’s communicated out through the news and have a harder time navigating or dispelling the differences between truth and myth. So, it’s so important that parents and kids talk to each other,” Hawks said.

They’re also teaching parents to recognize red flags.

“They’re isolating more, that the kid seems more irritable or on edge. That they’re changes to their eating or sleeping schedule,” Hawks said.

To combat feelings of stress and anxiety, the hospital recommends limiting screen time to cut down on access to news about the coronavirus, taking a break from the TV, and keeping them on a daily schedule.

“Much like adults, we thrive on under consistency and schedules. And when it’s a free for all, as much as kids think that that’s what’s going to be best for them or what they want, the realty is they’re going to do much better if they’ve got a schedule,”

Both parents and children will have their own challenges during this time, and experts say it’s important to maintain a sense of normalcy at home with time for gratitude.

If you need professional help, the Children’s Hospital Colorado provides telehealth services for those who have mental health concerns for their child. Click here for details on telehealth through the hospital.

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