How are you doing? May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Here are a few tips and resources I’ve come across if you feel like you or your child might need some help.
From the CDC:
Watch for behavior changes in your child.
Not all children and teens respond to stress in the same way. Some common changes to watch for include:
- Excessive crying or irritation in younger children
- Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (for example, toileting accidents or bedwetting)
- Excessive worry or sadness
- Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
- Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens
- Poor school (homework) performance or avoiding school work
- Difficulty with attention and concentration
- Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past
- Unexplained headaches or body pain
- Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
Ways to support your child:
- Talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child or teen can understand.
- Reassure your child or teen that they are safe. Let them know it is ok if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
- Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.
- Try to keep up with regular routines. If schools are closed, create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.
- Be a role model. Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with your friends and family members.
Here is a link to the CDC Facts on Corona page: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/share-facts.html
Here is a simple video for kids explaining Corona virus, narrated by a child: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVvVTDhGqaA&vl=en
UNICEF How to talk to your kids about Coronavirus
PBS Kids has De-stressing tips for you and your kids (the videos sadly cannot be viewed from outside the U.S but there is still some good info here): https://www.pbs.org/parents/thrive/how-you-and-your-kids-can-de-stress-during-coronavirus
Go with Yoyo
A mindful moment for kids (video) with YoYo: https://www.gowithyoyo.com
-This article has some really good tips on managing stress and anger for parents and kids: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2020/04/16/how-parents-can-protect-kids-mental-health-during-pandemic/?fbclid=IwAR0Y-wBvhYFd_59btrEuQelojkD87n0d1-pI8E6uZ4AZbG2kVGU5oxqpbJ0
Defending the Early Years
Great tips and guidance for supporting young children during Covid-19 (PDF)
National Alliance on Mental Illness
NAMI Basics OnDemand is a free, six-session online education program for parents, caregivers and other family who provide care for youth aged 22 or younger who are experiencing mental health symptoms. NAMI Basics OnDemand is an adaptation of the in-person course offered in 43 states by NAMI affiliates. Register here: https://basics.nami.org
Ten ways to avoid an adverse childhood experience during the pandemic:
Let us know if you know of any local resources or would like to share other links or advice. Of course be sure to consult a professional if you feel you’ve reached the end of your rope, but also feel free to reach out to chat if you need to.