Supporting Children in Prevalence of Coronavirus (COVID19)
What Is Their Fear and Worries?
Social Worker/ Child and Youth Advocate
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus. The prevalence of coronavirus disease may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in children. What is the best ways to support children in this global crisis? And what is the common behavior changes in children in this conditions?
In this conditions Some common changes to watch for include:
- Excessive crying or irritation in younger children
- Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (for example, toileting accidents or bedwetting)
- Excessive worry or sadness
- Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
- Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens
- Poor school performance or avoiding school
- Difficulty with attention and concentration
- Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past
- Unexplained headaches or body pain
- Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
Encourage your children to ask questions, and answer those questions directly.
Your children may have some difficult questions about the coronavirus. For example, children may ask if it is possible that someone in the family may get the virus that causes COVID-19. The concern may be an issue for both you and your children alike. This question is speaking to concerns about the safety and security of themselves and those they love. In your answer, stress what is being done in your family, the community, state, country, and the world to reduce risk. Question-and-answer exchanges help ensure ongoing support as your children begin to cope with emotions related to this virus.
As you have the conversation with your children, ask how they are feeling about this virus. Validate these emotions. While parents/caregivers may wish to say, “you don’t need to worry” or “there is no need to be upset, we will be fine,” it is extremely unlikely this will change the emotion. Unintentionally, it may result in children no longer sharing their emotions or believing that their emotions are not ok to have. It is important to acknowledge how they are feeling and to let children know all feelings are OK.
Help them for communication with their loved ones
Virtual communication can help children and their loved ones feel less lonely and isolated. Support children communicate with their loved one, through calls, cards, pictures, songs, prayers, texts, and virtual communication when possible.
Limit Media Exposure
Limit your children’s media exposure to coverage of COVID-19. Remember children often overhear or see what you are watching on TV or listening to on the radio. What may not be upsetting to you as an adult, may be upsetting and confusing for a child. For the very young, exposure should be rare. Remember to limit your own exposure. Adults, too, may become more distressed with nonstop exposure to the media coverage of this outbreak. While keeping updated about guidance, remember to get your information from a trusted source such as the CDC and your local public health officials and also go to trusted sources for accurate information, give the facts, and correct misinformation and rumors.
Social distancing is the phrase of the day, but this does not mean that you should isolate from family and friends. Find ways to stay connected through calls, FaceTime, Skype, text messaging, letters, and virtual games and activities. You can connect with friends and neighbors by small acts of kindness such as taking baked goods to leave at a neighbor’s door, bringing out trash cans to the curb for someone, or sending letters of thanks to medical personnel or first responders.
Be A Positive Role Model
Consider sharing your feelings about COVID-19 with your children at a level they can understand. You may express worry even frustration for what is happening. You may share some anxiety, but it is important for you to also share with your children ideas for coping. Remind them what everyone in the family is doing to stay healthy and well. Talk about the many helpers. Consider how the family may also consider helping too.
As parents/caregivers, you are better able to care for your children/teens if you take care of yourselves. Make sure you find ways each day to care for yourself. Practice good rest/sleep, healthy eating, and exercise. What can bring you calm? Bring you joy? Find one practical activity to do each day.
Assure children that you are protect them
Tell them how you will care for them if they get sick.
Remind them that most sick people recover, especially children.
Comfort them to calm their worries.