5 Ways to support your children’s mental health during COVID-19

It is no secret that the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the inefficiencies of our systems, particularly those in the health sector. Before the current pandemic, studies had shown an increase in mental health issues among young adults. Now that people are required to self-isolate and stay indoors, there is a growing concern about how this drastic shift will affect families, especially children who are among the most vulnerable in society. There are different ways of supporting kids and helping them cope. If you are thinking of seeking professional help and are living in California, you can reach out to an Irvine psychiatry clinic offering child and adolescent treatment services.

Before visiting a psychiatrist, parents should try several home strategies to help their kids cope with COVID-19.

Talk to them about COVID-19

Your kids have noticed the change in routines, the way you interact with people as well as the new sanitary habits you are trying to instill in the house. They will likely have questions because they are trying to understand why the sudden change in lifestyles.

The best thing is to sit them down and explain what is happening. Parents know what their children can understand, so it’s easier for them to gauge which details are useful. You don’t want to bombard the kids with information that will end up scaring them.

Some kids will get anxious and ask about school and when they’ll reopen. The short answer to this is, “Be Honest!” Your kids trust you, and there’s no point in getting their hopes up.

Establish Routines

Both you and the kids are staying at home every day. It can be overwhelming for kids to adapt to this new ‘normal.’ The best thing, therefore, is to establish routines. According to child psychiatrists, discussing the new schedules with your children is a great way to bond with them.

Find out their interests and dislikes. Also, if your children’s school doesn’t offer online classes, research activities that can help your kids learn new life skills. You may also want to schedule a time for nature walks as well as exercise.

Physical activities do not only improve moods and brain activity but also prevents excessive weight gain due to staying inactive.

Take Care of Your Mental Health

Children notice a lot, and they can tell when their parents are not okay. Right now, parents are juggling parenting and work at the same time. Some parents have lost jobs due to layoffs, while others have experienced substantial pay cuts.

Despite this being a tough time, parents must find ways of coping to avoid lashing out at their kids. Remember, kids should always feel safe in their homes.

Limit News Exposure

It’s good to stay updated on what’s happening in the world. However, limit your kids’ exposure to graphic news or news that can create panic or overwhelm them.

Encourage Virtual Communication

Your kids may have gotten used to visiting their grandparents every other weekend. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, this is not an option. Therefore, you should try and stay connected through Facetime and Skype. It would help if you also let your kids interact with their friends online and even help them plan virtual playdates.

If you have tried all these strategies and are not seeing any progress, then you should consider seeking professional help. If you are in Irvine, CA, you should reach out to Americas TMS Center, and Orange County Child & Adolescent Psychiatry is a great center for helping kids struggling with mental health issues.