• 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.




Educational 


Entertainment


Fitness

  • 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.

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