Top Five Ways to Help Your Kids Manage Today’s Anxiety
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Since the outbreak of COVID-19, it feels like the only constants are uncertainty and fear. For children that live with mental health issues, the changes in routine that come from stay-at-home orders can become significant stressors. For other children, the sense of isolation and constant worry about health has them dealing with a level of stress and anxiety to which they are unaccustomed. As children and teens continue to be confronted with future uncertainty, feelings of disappointment, fear, stress, and isolation escalate. Everyone experiences the pandemic differently.
In a recent webinar hosted by the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, local experts Dr. Suzanne Schneps Ph.D, clinical psychologist, and Jeffrey Lox, LISW-S, ACSW, executive director, Bellefaire JCB, shared some insight on how parents of all ages can manage their kids’ anxiety in the coronavirus era.
Here are the top five ways to help your child manage today’s anxiety:
- Our brains have a unique way of working and we turn off our own fear in our brain by actually performing acts of kindness. Write to a note to a first responder, text a friend, or call an elderly loved one. By doing something kind, we’re helping our own anxiety.
- Eat a balanced diet, sleep right, and get some exercise. This may sound very simple, but these are very practical tools to get our body to that equilibrium. As a parent, you should act as a model to your kids to have a routine.
- Pick the right rules. It’s okay to be more relaxed about certain rules during this time, such as the amount of “screen time” each day or getting clean laundry put away. One rule that should never change, however, is safety first.
- Have empathy. It is really disappointing for kids to lose the opportunity to go to prom, celebrate at a birthday party, or attend their own graduation. We need to support where they’re coming from and relieve our own pressure that we need to solve it.
- Find ways to have fun. Create fun in the moment and for the future. Look at old photos together or talk about old memories. Let your children and teens be your guide for new games, movies, and creative experiences. Fun moments are possible in this unusual time.
“Respect and acknowledge [your children’s] feelings and remind them that feelings are never right or wrong, they are uniquely theirs,” Schneps said.
“We’re in unusual times and one good anxiety management tool is to acknowledge that,” Lox said. “Anxiety is not a bad thing. It’s a warning system – it’s our body saying ‘I need to do something different for myself.’”
For more information and resources, contact:
- Access Jewish Cleveland www.accessjewishcleveland.org
- Bellefaire JCB Helpline
Thank you, Susan R. Borison from Your Teen for Parents Magazine, for moderating this webinar.