Parents and guardians can help their children cope with anxiety about COVID-19 by providing facts and correct information about illness prevention. Children look to adults for guidance on how to react to stressful situations and events. A child’s anxiety will rise if they see their parents are overly worried, according to the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).
Parents and guardians can reassure their child that health and school officials are working hard to make sure people are staying healthy. Children need age-appropriate information and facts. Depending on their age, talk to your child about the seriousness of illness and the steps they can take to prevent becoming ill or spreading an illness to others. Giving a child a sense of control can help ease their anxiety. The NASP recommends the following:
- Remain calm and reassuring.
- Make yourself available.
- Avoid excessive blaming.
- Monitor television viewing and social media use.
- Maintain a normal routine as much as possible.
- Be honest and accurate.
- Know the symptoms of COVID-19 and
- Talk about and model proper hygiene and healthy lifestyle choices that can prevent illness.
The Mental Health Association of Maryland has organized a page of resources to support Marylanders through this difficult time. Check out http://mhamd.org/coronavirus regularly as they will routinely update these pages so they are as timely and helpful as possible. Below are some additional resources:
- Mental Health Association of Maryland
- St. Mary’s County Health Department or call 301-475-4330
- St. Mary’s County Department of Social Services or call 240-895-7000
- St. Mary’s County Tri-County Youth Services Bureau or call 301-866-5332
- Maryland Health Connection
Resources on COVID-19 for Adults Supporting Children & Teens
- NASP - Talking to Children about COVID-19
- Talking with children about Coronavirus Disease 2019 | CDC
- Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope With the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Identifying Signs of Stress in Kids/Adolescents (APA)