Family Healthcast: Helping children with their feelings during uncertain times

Family Healthcast

(WSYR-TV) — We have found that more children are healthy right now because they’re not in school spreading colds and other illnesses. But, mental health is suffering.

Local doctors said that many of the calls they are getting are about kids’ anxiety and sleep problems. If your children are struggling, here is some guidance from the National Childhood Trauma Network:

  • Be calm and positive
  • Reassure children
  • Show empathy for disappointments
  • Point out good things
  • Talk about acts of kindness
  • Address money issues

Kids can pick up on signals about adult’s feelings, which in turn can affect how they feel and react.

It is also important to show empathy for how this virus is changing their lives. Younger children are missing play dates and summer vacation plans. Older kids are missing sports, graduations and proms.

Experts say that dismissing their feelings of loss can be very harmful. You can point out the good things that are happening. And talk about how people are helping each other stay healthy and safe.

It is good to talk about acts of kindness like teachers and others who are working to make sure that children who need it are still getting meals.

It is also important to be open about money. If you need to make adjustments to spending or living situations, make plans in family meetings. Address the children in a calm, practical way without emotion but with empathy.

Experts say you should remember to reassure your children that the changes in their lives are temporary and they’re for a good reason. Even when you’re anxious about the future, tell your children that you’re confident your family will get through this.

As always, stay home and stay safe.


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