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According to a meta-literature review published in JAMA Pediatrics, children’s depression and anxiety rates may have doubled since the start of the pandemic. If you have children, you’ve probably noticed some behavioral changes over the past couple years. If your child is struggling with pandemic-related anxiety, try these 5 tips for addressing anxiety in children.

 

1. Limit Media Access 

The media’s purpose is to inform us about the world beyond our front door. But the 24-hour news cycle has a tendency to rehash stories, sometimes digging for the most anxiety-producing angles available.

There’s a saying in journalism: if it bleeds, it leads. While this philosophy might be great for a media company’s bottom line, it’s probably not healthy for the average viewer, and it certainly isn’t beneficial for children.

Avoid exposing your child to a constant stream of media. Read the news on your phone rather than watching it on TV. Choose music stations over the news in the car. And try to avoid obsessive conversations about the news when your children are present.

Remember that the brains of children and adults are different. Children can’t filter information in the same manner as adults. A recent study published in Nature Human Behavior showed that increased exposure to media coverage of disasters led children to show signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), regardless of physical proximity to the disaster.

To improve your child’s mental health, keep media exposure to a minimum.

 

2. Empower Your Child with Healthy Habits and Facts  

Children have little personal control over their environments, so, understandably, a world event like a pandemic might trigger anxiety.

To counter this, empower your child with positive habits and factual information so they feel more in control:

  • Teach them how to correctly wash their hands, and, more importantly, teach them why washing their hands well is so important.
  • Let them choose a special bottle of hand sanitizer and a mask they’re excited about so they feel they have a choice and some control.
  • Explain the concept of germs in a kid-friendly way. Help them brainstorm ways to avoid spreading germs to others.

Allowing your child to feel like they have a sense of control will go a long way in minimizing anxiety.

 

3. Keep Your Own Anxiety in Check 

Children are usually adept at picking up on the emotions of others. If you’re feeling considerable anxiety about Covid-19, odds are your child senses this and, as a result, could begin feeling the same way.

Try to process your own anxiety in a healthy way. Journal, take a bath, or talk with a friend or therapist. This will help minimize passing on anxiety to your child.

 

4. Stay Connected with Friends and Family 

Thankfully, mandated social distancing is almost a thing of the past.  But when the sniffles could be masquerading as something more serious, caution still matters. If someone in your family is under the weather, as has always been wise, keeping your distance from vulnerable people makes sense. But remember to re-establish connection as soon as possible. Isolation from loved ones can be tough on kids.

 

5. Teach Anxiety Management Techniques 

Learning to process negative emotions is an important part of growing up. Help your child manage their anxiety by teaching them healthy coping techniques. Mindfulness, deep breathing, or yoga. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can also be a helpful management technique for anxious children.

 

 

CONTACT CREATIVE COUNSELING CENTER

 

Is your child experiencing excessive Covid-19 anxiety? At Creative Counseling Center, our team consists of compassionate, highly trained therapists who are ready to help. You can request a FREE Phone Consultation by completing the form below. We will contact you and, after a conversation about your circumstances, together we can determine whether our practice and which therapist would be the best fit. If our practice is not right for your family, we’re happy to offer recommendations to other providers in the Denver metro area. We look forward to hearing from you!