Caring For Your Child’s Mental Wellness During a Pandemic
June 29, 2020
Even though kids don’t have the pressure of adult responsibilities, they still feel stressed and anxious. This is especially true during crises or when things are out of the ordinary. To help out, we’ve come up with a list of mental wellness tips for kids during stressful times. Keep these things in mind to help both you and your child get through crises and times of uncertainty.
1. Practice Open Communication
One of the best mental health tips for kids involves how you talk to them about what’s troubling them. Keep the channels of communication open at all times. Reassure kids that they can always come to you to talk about how they’re feeling no matter what’s going on. Make your home a safe space for them to talk about worries and anxieties. Let them ask questions and make sure they know you’re always listening. This will make it easier for them to keep coming to you to talk about things throughout their life.
2. Follow A Routine
When things are out of the ordinary, kids benefit from following a routine. A daily routine can add balance and security when things in the outside world feel unstable. That’s why one of our top mental wellness tips for kids is to keep them on a daily routine. Stick to a regular bedtime and get up around the same time every day even if they don’t have to go to school. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the Brush, Book, Bed program to wind things down each night.
3. Keep It Honest, But Simple
As we’ve already said, when scary things are happening in the world, it’s important to be open and honest with kids. However, try and keep the information you give them about current events simple and easy to comprehend. Don’t overwhelm them with details that may add to their stress levels.
4. Teach Them Healthy Ways to Manage Stress
Even if you have open communication and a supportive environment, your child is going to feel stressed every now and then. As they get older, the things they stress about will change with them. That’s why it’s important to start teaching them how to deal with stress in healthy ways when they are young. Try some of these strategies for managing stress in the moment to release tension.
5. Limit Their Exposure to Media
We live in a world where information is available 24/7. During times of crisis, it may be your instinct to keep the news on to stay informed. However, this overload of information can be stressful for both you and your child. A constant influx of information may cause confusion or anxiety for kids, so get your news fix when they’re not in the room.
6. Make Playtime a Priority
Children get a lot more out of playtime than just diversion. Play can help them channel their worries or stress into an activity. They can also use play to express their creativity. Make sure your routine includes time for kids to play and focus on having fun.
7. Keep Them Active
When you’re making time for play, don’t forget that some playtime needs to be dedicated to physical activity. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children over six get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. One of the most uplifting mental health tips for kids is to make sure they stay active. Getting outside for activity is also recommended when possible. Anything that gets them moving can help them work off anxious energy and can also boost their mood and help them sleep.
8. Look Out for Signs of Trouble
To take care of your child’s mental health, you should be familiar with the signs of mental distress. Children express mental distress in different ways, but there are some signs that indicate you should take action:
- Avoiding normal activities
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Difficulty with controlling their emotions
- Changes in eating habits or weight loss
- Outbursts of anger or erratic behavior
- Difficulty keeping up with responsibilities (schoolwork, chores, etc)
- Continuous sad mood
9. Talk To A professional
One of the most important mental wellness tips we have for kids is to seek the help of a professional when needed. If you see signs your child is struggling with their mental health, contact their pediatrician. Your child’s pediatrician can evaluate them and make recommendations about whether they might need to see a specialist who can help you out even more.
Holly Springs Pediatrics is committed to providing quality care to your kids at all times. That includes being there in uncertain times. We will always prioritize the health and safety of your family. Call our Holly Springs, NC pediatric office at (919) 249-4700 to schedule an appointment or talk to a staff member.