Notes From the Nurse’s Office
Helping Your Family Stay Safe and Sane From COVID-19
CPVOD-19 has caused us to adapt to the changes in our daily lives and has affected the safety and sanity of just about everyone. While change can be good, anyone may feel upset or have other emotions like fear and anxiety after an emergency like COVID-19.
Adults must now help children adjust to the “new world’. Your kitchen or dining room may now be your office or the school classroom. You must practice social distancing, help keep up with schoolwork and household chores, worry about everyone’s health and keep children occupied while making them feel safe. All of this AND take care of yourself while trying to stay sane.
Children look to adults for guidance and react to what they see from adults around them. Dealing with stress calmly and confidently can foster a sense of control which can help provide support and reassurance to children.
According to the National Association of School Psychologist some signs of stress in children may be:
- Preschoolers: thumb sucking, bed wetting, clinging to parents, sleep and eating disturbances, fear of the dark, regression of behavior, and withdrawal.
- Elementary School Children: irritability, aggressiveness, clinginess, nightmares, physical complains, poor concentration, sleep and eating disturbances, and withdrawal from activities.
- Adolescents: sleep and eating disturbances, agitation, increase in conflicts, physical complaints, delinquent behavior, poor concentration, and substance abuse.
You can support your child by talking about COVID-19 on a level that can be understood, keep it simple and age appropriate and answer all questions honestly. Reassure them it is OK to be upset and that they are safe. Being exposed to information on the pandemic can be upsetting so take breaks from watching, reading or listening to the news, including social media.
Respect and encourage expression of feelings and concerns. Ask open ended questions like “describe how you are feeling”. An article by Murphy Moroney states a mother from Canada had her children create a COVID-19 Time Capsule which helped them express their concerns and feelings. The capsule included special occasions that happened during the pandemic(Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, birthdays, etc), things to be thankful for, how they felt about the pandemic, plus a list of 3 things they were excited to do when the pandemic was over. Last she included a letter expressing her thoughts on the pandemic.
To help keep you and your children sane, maintain regular routines and schedules, allow time for relaxation and fun plus time to unwind. Take care of your body, eat healthy, get adequate sleep, take deep breaths, exercise, practice yoga, and connect with others you trust. Make sure you follow guidelines for social distancing, use masks, and wash those hands.
Remember, children are RESILIENT!! With the help and support of everyone, we will get through this.
If you need help with coping or helping your children cope, contact your primary care provider, pediatrician or local mental health agency for direction. PA has a Support & Referral Helpline that offers round the clock support, the number to call is 1-855-284-2494.
STAY SAFE AND SANE!
If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to the CMSD nurse below for the appropriate grade level.