With children home from school and concern about COVID-19 on the rise, how do parents protect the mental health of their children?
According to Valley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Psychologist Dr. Amanda Suplee, honest communication, using age-appropriate language and building a strong routine in the home are some ways to support the emotional life of children during these uncertain times.
“So asking them, ‘okay, for this hour would you like to do math or reading? Would you like to play music or would you like to do yoga together?' I think giving them a sense of control in this situation, you’ll see a lot more interest in what they do and a lot less irritability,” she said.
Dr. Suplee says changes in a child’s diet, sleep pattern or mood can be signs they are experiencing anxiety. She encourages parents to seek out books to help children talk about their feelings. She also reminds parents to find ways to have some fun.
“Play is very important for children so we need to remember that as much structure and activities that we have in our day, they also need time to still be kids,” said Dr. Suplee.
And parents with children who need additional support coping with anxiety are advised to contact their pediatrician.