Help Kids Cope with COVID-19 Anxiety

The COVID-19 outbreak has disrupted the lives of children across central Illinois and the world. Home from school, adrift from their friends and daily schedules, it’s no surprise that many are feeling anxious and fearful.

As parents, it’s important to remember that your children are looking to you to learn how to cope with stress and anxiety. One way to help children feel more in control of the situation is to teach preventive measures like proper handwashing and social distancing. You can also find ways for your family to help others, like sending cards to elderly people who live alone or making signs thanking healthcare workers.

Here are some other ways to help your children feel less anxious during the outbreak:

  • Have open conversations about COVID-19 and encourage your children to talk about their concerns.
  • Place limits on screen time if news on TV or social media is upsetting.
  • Use age-appropriate language to explain how illness spreads, and what can be done to avoid becoming sick. Practice covering coughs and sneezes and wash your hands together.
  • Instead of focusing on the things you can’t do because of social distancing, focus on the things you can do. Learn a new skill as a family, or do fun activities like baking cookies or playing board games.
  • Help older children understand that rumors they see on social media may not be true. Teach them how to access factual information from sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or World Health Organization.
  • Try to keep a normal routine as much as possible, including healthy food and sleep habits.