LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Coping with a pandemic can be stressful for anyone. How do you handle the fear and anxiety with kids at home asking questions?
We Face-Timed Dr. Sarah Wakefield to get some answers. She is Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the Texas Tech Health Science Center.
Here is her advice:
“No one is with their kids. Very few people are with their kids all day, every day at home. And when you are, and kids are changing routines, everyone is going to act out a little bit. Parents are going to act out a little bit. Kids are going to act out a little bit. So just because your kid is having a tantrum about something may mean (more), they’re not in some sort of a routine than that they’re really distressed. but i would say talk to them about it. Say ‘What’s going on? How are you feeling? Is anything bothering you?’ Especially if you’ve been talking about what’s going on, if you’ve been exhibiting anxiety, if you’ve had the news on and you think they might have heard something that stresses them out, then ask them about it.”
“So we want to limit the amount of information that the kids are exposed to, this content because anxiety or information without the ability to act on the information can cause even more worry and anxiety and kids often don’t have the ability to act on that information. They need to know that their parents have it handled and that their parents wil do what’s appropriate to protect them but they don’t need to be sitting around watching the news.”
“You want to be the one to answer your kids questions. so if they’re old enough to ask about it , they’re old enough to get answers .So, how I dealt with it with my kids is, 'There is a new virus going around. We have dealt with viruses for a long time but because this one is brand new, it can spread really fast and people can all get it at the same time. So we’re trying to prevent everybody from getting it at the same time. So everybody is trying to stay home. And if you stay home, then you need some more supplies.”
Dr. Wakefield says remember this is Spring Break.. and kids have looked forward to this as a fun time. So she says loosen the schedule a little for now... but she includes ideas she uses at home on setting schedules for kids.
Dr. Wakefield said these are good sources for parents to learn more about coping with the stress and anxiety stirred up by COVID-19:
TTUHSC Counseling Center Resources https://www.ttuhsc.edu/centers-institutes/counseling/resouces.aspx
CDC guidance on coping with Covid stress https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html