The COVID-19 outbreak is not only impacting our physical health but mental as well. Unlike other disasters, the uncertainty reality we are all facing makes it extremely challenging for families to reassure children.  LSU Psychology Asst Professor Dr. Anna Long says a change in a child’s behavior is typical during a crisis.

“That’s completely normal and so it doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong as a parent. It’s sort of the way they are showing the stress they’re feeling. Just like you know parents themselves are feeling,” says Long.

During this period be sure to reaffirm your child’s physical wellbeing and give them a perception of safety, for example, practical help, physical comfort, and emotional support. Long also says set a routine and stick to it.

“Having a consistent schedule and having sort of consistent behavioral expectations they really provide a sense of normalcy and security,” says Long.

While many of us are working from home be prepared to make yourself more readily available to spend quality time with your children. Long says when children ask questions, be honest and reassure them but, also let their questions guide the conversation.

“To help them understand the event based on their age and maturity level, and to balance the information that we provide with accurate reassurances about what is being done to help get things back to normal,” says Long.

Long also stresses that parents should also manage their own stress because how they react has a significant effect on how their children will react.

 

Reported by Brooke Thorington