Mitigating Child Stress During the Coronavirus Pandemic
“Isolation, physical distancing, the closure of schools and workplaces are challenges that affect us, and it is natural to feel stress, anxiety, fear and loneliness at this time” – Hans Kluge, director of the European branch of the WHO.
Hans Kluge is correct. The long-term restriction of people from interacting with others or from simply taking a walk negatively affects their mental health. Add to that the fear of contracting a new & potentially deadly virus, and you’ve got a formula for serious negative mental health issues.
Even though too young to process all of the information about the current coronavirus pandemic, the mental health of children can still be negatively affected. Although not usually as obvious, children are also feeling it. What can be done?
What can we do to help the kiddos?
“WALK” WITH THEM EVERY DAY
Let them know that you will walk through this with them for however long it lasts.
Maintain a routine
Routines help both children and adults. Although difficult in our ever-changing coronavirus circumstances, do your best. God gave those beautiful children to you, so you are “the man/woman” for the job!
“This means eating meals at regular times, sleeping, waking and exercising at set times, and maintaining social (socially distant) contact. Unstructured time can create boredom, spikes in anxiety or depression, which can lead to unhealthy patterns of coping.” – Dr. Deborah Serani, Psy.D.
Be creative when you choose routines for exercise. You know your family & children best.
Make Time to Play
Children need to play. It’s good for them physically, emotionally, spiritually & psychologically.
Choose games that are age appropriate as well as games that are fun for everyone who is in isolation with you. There are plenty of choices.
AVOID computer games!!! Too much screen time isn’t good for a child’s development.
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” – Luke 6:31
“Do unto others” is the Golden Rule. There are many people in need at this time in history. If your children are old enough maybe you willl want to teach them how to sew buttons or another easy task. In this they will learn basic life skills. As a suggestion, you also might want to teach them how to use that life skill to sew buttons onto headbands or straps so nurses and other healthcare workers can attach their face masks. There are many needy people. Look around your community and observe what is needed and whether you & your family can meet any of those needs.
DISCLAIMER: Be careful!!! The age at which a child can safely use a needle depends on both the age & the maturity of the child. You know them best. They are yours.
Coronavirus-specific resources for children
I waited a bit to post these sites because early on in this pandemic these specific resourcs had not yet been developed.
These resources include videos. Look at them before sharing them with your children. Use them liberally. Use them to stimulate your own creativity. These are not the only resources available. You will find many by doing a Google search.
You & your beloved children are in my prayers.
In His Hands,
Fran Pultro, Ed.M., CPSP, ICISF
“Pastor Fran” has been the Staff Chaplain at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children since 2002. He is the Senior Pastor at Calvary Chapel on the King’s Highway, a chaplain with the Philadelphia Police Department and an ICISF Approved Instructor.
Hans Kluge quote: https://euobserver.com/coronavirus/147903
Father holding child, iStock Photos
Unsplash: A father and son hold hands
Students Kids Clipart
Make Time to Play UK