Margaret Aghaeepour, PsyD
Supporting Your Children During COVID-19 Pandemic
The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) can be stressful for many of us, especially children and teens. Children react, in part, on what they see from the adults around them. When parents and caregivers deal with the COVID-19 calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children. Parents can be more reassuring to others around them, especially children, if they are better prepared.
Here are some common warning signs you should look out for in your children:
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
Remember, not all children and teens respond to stress in the same way. Please consult with a mental health professional if your children experience these feelings or behaviors for several days in a row and are unable to carry out normal responsibilities because of them.
Here are some ways CDC recommended for supporting children at home:
Talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak.
Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child or teen can understand.
Reassure your child or teen that they are safe. Let them know it is ok if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.
Try to keep up with regular routines. If schools are closed, create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.
Be a role model. Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with your friends and family members.
The City of Los Altos has organized the following list for children and teens to stay active during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Rent an E-book, look up articles, or visit the Teen and Child Online Centers at the Santa Clara County Online Library
Visit PBS and PBS Teaching Materials for ideas on educating children during their time away from school
Learn a new skill like coding and coding for children.
Learn more about the oceans with different educational materials for children.
With pretty much every subject available, Khan Academy is amazing for these no school times.
Want an educational scavenger hunt you can do in your own backyard? Here is a biodiversity bingo card! Kids can look around their backyard or local green space and try to find enough biodiversity for bingo.
Visit your favorite animals via live cam at the San Diego Zoo, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, or just view some puppies.
Just because Museums are closed, doesn’t mean you can’t see them. Come take a virtual tour of the Louvre.
Travel is limited but you can still take a virtual tour of Yosemite! (Plus you don’t even need a campsite reservation)
Want to visit one of twelve famous museums? Well this website has virtual tours of all of them
If the locations above didn't sound exciting, here is over thirty virtual tours of various locations!
Famous actors/actresses reading children's books! What more could you want?
If you need some live music, there are videos of virtual orchestras you can watch!
Find your new favorite at-home routine on Youtube. If you don’t know where to look, Boston Globe has some good ideas (although we aren’t necessary endorsing any of the options).
Visit Planet Fitness’s Facebook page at 4pm for their daily free online class!
Just because you can't be there in person, doesn't mean you can't enjoy OrangeTheory Online!
FiT, a local fitness studio, has many different online workouts for you, as well as some for the kids! Join them on Tuesday/Thursday at 12:15pm and 3:30pm for fun video workouts. These classes are free, but donations are welcome!
Get outside and take a walk, do yoga, go for a jog, or visit one of the many open spaces around Los Altos. Just remember to stay 6ft away from people, wash your hands, and don’t touch your face!
Visit https://www.losaltosca.gov/citymanager/page/fun-activities-keep-you-busy-during-covid-19-shelter-place for the complete list of activities and their links. Visit https://emergency.cdc.gov/coping/selfcare.asp for more information regarding COVID-19. May you and your family stay healthy, safe, and happy.