Just like adults, it is very natural for children to also feel anxious about the novel coronavirus pandemic. If no steps are taken to manage the anxiety, both the physical and mental health of children can be affected causing dysfunctional behavior and feeling of despair and helplessness. However, with a little help from their parents, the children can cope very well with their anxiety. Some tips for concerned parents:
Establish a Routine
Since it is the disruption of their normal lives that is one of the prime causes of anxiety in children, parents can help to restore the balance by implementing a structure that will bring in stability. A healthy routine will assist children to complete their school assignments, eat on time, develop healthy eating habits, exercise, and adhere to a consistent sleep schedule. If the child is old enough, make him participate in drawing up the routine. Display the chart or the do-do list in a place where it is easily seen so that the child is more liable to follow it. Try to encourage and acknowledge the child’s achievements to keep him motivated.
Monitor Your Child Closely, Recommends Curt E. Liebman MD
It is important for a parent to frequently check in with the child to figure out their feelings. Encourage your child to discuss their concerns with you and try to listen attentively. By validating their emotions and keeping the lines of communication open, you will be able to support them better, says Curt E. Liebman MD. Let them know that it is perfectly natural to feel anxious and adults too often feel the same. Help them by telling them how you cope and suggest ways of how they can manage their feelings better. Assure them that they do not have to face their worries alone and you are there for them every step of the way. It can be a good idea to discuss what is happening in the world around them, how people are being affected, and how people are also trying to get on top of the situation.
Be on the Watch for Symptoms of Anxiety
To be able to manage anxiety in children, you need to first recognize your child’s state of mind. Signs of anxiety can manifest in different ways; your child could be moody or prone to irritation, he could be feeling sad, or biting his nails, worry excessively, feeling tired or restless, have trouble focusing on work or even be unable to sleep well. The symptoms also tend to differ by age; young children could be prone to throwing tantrums, having meltdowns, or show signs of aggression, while teenagers may try to isolate themselves, display high irritability, or even feel suicidal in extreme situations. According to https://www.anxiety.org, frequent complaints of headaches and stomach aches can be a sign of anxiety.
Discuss with your child what to do if they are feeling anxious. Rather than telling them to stop worrying, teach them to focus on the positive aspects of life. Tell them how much they mean to you and how you appreciate them for bringing in love and hope into your life. By encouraging positive dialogs, you can help them to climb out of their dark moods.