Children’s Mental Health: How to Help Your Kids Cope During COVID-19

When schools and businesses started closing due to COVID-19, so many parents and grandparents had to quickly come up with a plan for keeping their children safe, healthy and active while being homebound. When you add working from home into the planning, it’s easy for everyone, especially our kids, to feel overwhelmed, stressed, and even angry.

The Community Foundation of Morgan County (CFMC) recognizes that children’s mental health is a real problem in our schools and with the current pandemic, we understand these issues can also occur at home.

That’s why we offer the following useful tips from the Child Mind Institute to help you calm fears, maintain peace, and manage stress levels for everyone in your household.

·         First, you need to check your own anxiety level. Is it over the top or under control? Children can easily read our body language and know when we’re feeling stressed. They’re looking to us to calm their fears, not the other way around. When you’re feeling anxious, try not to talk about it in front of the kids. Instead, take a break like going for a walk outside or going into another room to take some deep breaths.

·         One way to keep everyone’s stress in check is to limit the time you watch television or check your social media accounts. It’s important to stay informed but try not to check the news every day. Instead, find content that’s positive such as humorous stories, virtual tours of museums, or music.

·         Plan family activities throughout the week like a game night, cooking a meal, or going outside for exercise (i.e. walking in the neighborhood, riding bikes, playing ball in the yard).

·         Stay connected to family and friends. This is so important because our relationships impact our overall well being (physically, mentally, emotionally). Schedule time for your children to video conference with their friends and family. Make time for yourself to call a friend so you have someone to share your positives and negatives.

·         Finally, try to keep your daily routine as normal as possible. Children need structure because it not only helps keep them calm, but it also gives them a sense of control. Make sure your kids are getting up, eating and going to bed at the same times as if they were in school. Keep routine flexible enough to make time for activities in addition to studying.

Food insecurity at home can also impact a child’s mental health. Many kids in Morgan County are going without food during this pandemic.  Be a part of a real solution by making a donation to the CFMC COVID-19 Emergency Fund that’s helping local food pantries keep their shelves stocked to help people in need. Go to today and donate.