Taking care of your kids’ emotional health through the Coronavirus
The recent precautionary measures recommended by our federal and local governments as well as the CDC regarding the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) have come with a variety of challenges and disruptions that can affect your emotional health as well as that of your kids. The following “take cares” are some general guidelines to help you and your kids cope.
✓ Take care of yourself first
Parents alike have concerns with the current situation and taking care of yourself is the first step to taking care of your kids. Following this attached handout can help: “Managing our emotional health through the coronavirus”
✓ Take care of how you talk with them
Your kids will have many questions regarding; family safety, daily life changes, and news that they have watched or heard. Without assuming that they know specifics or have correct information about the current situation, first approach them with open ended questions regarding what they know. Once you are sure of their concerns, you can then help with trusted CDC and governmental healthcare source clarifications, instructions and assurances. And have them repeat back to you in their own words to be sure they understand what you meant to communicate.
✓ Take care of their feelings and concerns
Often kids will have a wide range of emotional reactions that will override their words. As new challenges arise, so will the emotional needs for them. Acknowledge their concerns while providing empathy and reassurances that you as well as other family, friends, medical and police personnel, are doing everything to help them feel safe. Making periodic “check ins” to see how they are doing with any new fears or questions are also important.
✓ Take care of their physical needs often
Managing the physical needs of your child is just as important as their emotional needs. Sticking to a daily routine that includes- physical exercise, proper nutrition, play time, family fun time, and rest, are all critical to helping manage your families stress level.
✓ Take care by modeling proper “germ buster” hygiene
Be sure to demonstrate often good hygiene behaviors to your kids. As they continue to improve on good habits such as, hand washing, sneezing into elbows, and keeping hands from their face, make sure to exercise patience and praise them for it. Continue the positive messaging that they are a big part of the solution.
REACH counselors are available to provide further assistance and referrals for COVID-19 related family concerns. To speak to a counselor contact REACH at 1-800-273-5273.
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