How to Handle Anxiety in Children as the Pandemic Continues?

Anxiety over the COVID-19 pandemic is frequent among young children, and parents may question how to assuage those fears.

Parents should be upfront about their feelings about the virus and get on the same page as their partner.When parents are unsure of what they are thinking and feeling, their children may experience worry and bewilderment. If partners cannot agree, the penalty is doubled.

Parents should ask their children how they are feeling and what they think about the COVID pandemic, but should avoid inquiries like, "Are you frightened you'll become sick?"

Better questions would be: "What are your thoughts on masks and hand-washing? What thoughts come to mind when you put on your mask or don't put on your mask, or when you wash your hands or don't wash your hands?"

If children exhibit pandemic-related worried behaviour, such as repetitive hand-washing, parents should have an age-appropriate dialogue with their children about a new pandemic safety approach for the family.

If you tell your child, "We will wash our hands once before we eat our dinner, but it will be the only time," they may respond adversely at first, but should adjust to the new family plan a few minutes later. Meltdowns should become less frequent following this, and the problem should finally be resolved.

If children become distressed while attempting to follow the new family plan, they may be experiencing a level of anxiety that requires parents to seek professional assistance.

As huge events and extracurricular activities restart, families who intend to attend or enrol their children in activities should evaluate their family's risk.

Parents should discuss how the family will manage situations and the rules with their children ahead of time. Children should be permitted to express their preferences as long as they do not violate family or venue regulations.

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