Supporting Children’s Emotional Well-being During COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic is still front and center on everyone’s minds. It’s affecting how we work, socialize and complete basic needs like buying our groceries. As adults, we know the toll the changes are taking on our emotional well-being and how to, for the most part, make adjustments to better deal with it all. But it’s another thing to understand it all if you are a child. The world they know has turned upside down. Many children may struggle with significant adjustments to their routines, such as school and play date, which may interfere with their sense of structure, predictability and security. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the risk of exposure to the virus is low for young Americans compared to adults. But research has shown that children are more vulnerable to the emotional impact of traumatic events that disrupt their daily lives. How can we support and protect children’s emotional well-being during this public health crisis?
Here are some recommendations and resources from child trauma experts at Child Trends and the Child Trauma Training Center at the University of Massachusetts.
Reactions May Vary
Some kids may become clingier, struggle with sleeping and eating, and some may regress in development. As the adult, you can show empathy, patience and calmly set limits when needed.
Provide Age Appropriate Information
Withholding information can actually cause children more stress than telling the truth in age-appropriate ways. This is because children tend to rely on their imaginations when they lack adequate information. Make yourself available for children to ask questions and talk about their concerns. Limit exposure to media coverage and adult conversations about the pandemic.
Keep Children Busy
Kids need time to be busy and engaged in play and other learning experiences without worrying or talking about the pandemic. Give them opportunities to play outside, create art, listen to music and play games. Children also need quality time with important people in their lives. Social connectedness improves children’s chances of showing resilience to adversity. They can stay connected by writing letters or video chats.
If children are showing signs of trauma that do not resolve, professional help may be needed.
Our team at Larsen Law Firm, the Provo law practice, hopes you and your loved ones are staying safe during these difficult times.