This is usually the time of year when children are back in school, fall sports have started, and parents are preparing for Homecoming and Halloween. But because COVID-19 can affect children, many of these things we look forward to have been put on pause. The fact that most schools are suspending fall sports and continuing remote learning can impact the mental health of both students and parents. What should I know about my child’s mental health during coronavirus?
Returning to the remote classroom might cause increased anxiety and depression in some students. Although education is important, a child’s mental health is even more important, especially in times of uncertainty.
When Should I Worry About My Child’s Mental Health During Coronavirus?
Parents or caregivers need to pay attention to the following changes or behaviors in children:
- Difficulties paying attention
- Inability to concentrate
- Unhealthy eating habits
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
- Excessive sadness and worrying
- Unexplained headaches
- Increased irritability
- Excessive crying
Other changes and behaviors to watch out for would normally include a change in performance at school, not participating in activities that they once enjoyed, and not wanting to reach out to friends. But under our current circumstances, these signs don’t necessarily mean your child is depressed or anxious. These behaviors can also result from a lack of motivation that builds up after being stuck inside for too long.
The best way a parent or caregiver can support their child during this difficult time is to be open and honest and listen to their child’s concerns and fears. Additionally, with all the misinformation on social media, it’s important for parents to make sure that the information that their children receive about the coronavirus is accurate and from a credible source. Other ways to support your child include:
- Making sure they get plenty of sleep.
- Providing healthy meals and snacks.
- Going for walks, doing yoga, or dancing.
- Connecting with family and friends in a socially responsible way.
- Being open with your child about how you are feeling and dealing with stress.
- Validating your child’s feelings.
- Creating routines, especially with remote learning.
- Having a fun family day at the park or beach.
If you feel that your child is having severe issues with anxiety and depression, please contact their pediatrician or family physician and discuss it with them. Your child may need a professional therapist to deal with their anxiety and depression.
Not sure if your child is having a medical emergency or just a panic attack? Hospitality Health ER in Longview (as well as our Tyler and Galveston ER locations) is open 24-7 with pediatric-trained nurses and ER doctors. Walk in today.