Providing Emotional Support to Your Children During Social Distancing
Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, world leaders and health officials have made the recommendation for the general public to engage in social distancing to help minimize the spread. As these efforts have been implemented, they have brought about a lot of rapid continual changes as additional information is acquired. While dealing with their own personal stressors, parents are also trying to help their own children cope. Below are a few tips, behavioral strategies and resources for parents.
1. Minimize your child’s exposure to excessive media coverage of COVID-19. Especially make sure to filter out fear mongering and conspiracy theory websites and videos to minimize their potential anxiety.
2. Keep your explanations simple and age appropriate. For very young children stick to telling them wearing masks and washing their hands keeps germs away. If your child voices fears of death, explain that some people get sick and some get better with the help of doctors and medicine.
3. Check in with your children daily to see how they are coping. Ask how they are doing and if they need to talk. Reassure them they can talk to you or even a trusted family member if they may not feel comfortable opening up to you.
4. If you and your family are spiritual or religious, try to continue to engage in activities that will help provide you with support and comfort. Consider regularly setting aside time for prayer, reflection or attending online services.
5. NORMALIZE! Let your child know that their feelings are valid. Tell him/her it’s okay to be feeling anxious, scared or stressed, as this is a very challenging time for everyone in the world. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental health provider if you have concerns about your child’s emotional functioning or ability to cope with stressors.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255)
The Crisis Text Line: Text TALK to 741741
NAMI Helpline: 1-800-950-NAMI (1-800-950-6264)
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224
Helpline Center 211 resource Database visit http://www.helplinecenter.org/211database
Military OneSource Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255, then press 1; En español llame al: 800-342-9647; TTY/TDD: Dial 711 and give the toll-free number 800-342-9647
Paenting2Go app- helps Veterans and Service members reconnect with their children and provides convenient tools to strengthen parenting skills.
National Parental Helpline: 1-855-4A Parent (1-855-427-2736)
Felecia D. Sheffield, PhD, Copyright© 2020, All Rights Reserved in All Media.