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Supporting Your Child During Stressful Times
Barry Barnhart
Saturday, March 14, 2020

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.

Not all children respond to stress in the same way. Some common changes to watch for in
children:

Excessive crying and irritation
Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (e.g., toileting accidents or bedwetting)
Excessive worry or sadness
Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
Irritability and “acting out” behaviors
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


There are many things you can do to support your child:


• Take time to talk with your child about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child can understand. 

• Reassure your child that they are safe. Let them know if 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 child’s exposure to media coverage of the event. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand. 

• Help your child to have a sense of structure. Once it is safe to return to school or child care, help them return to their regular activity. 

• Be a role model; take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with your friends and family members and rely on your social support system.

(Taken from UCLA.edu)