Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. Children and teens react, in part, based on what they see from the adults around them. When parents and caregivers deal with a situation calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children.
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
- Excessive worry or sadness
- Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
- Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens
- Difficulty paying attention or concentrating
- Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past
- Unexplained headaches or body pain
- Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
There are many things you can do to support your child:
- Take time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts 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 pandemic, including social media.
- Try to keep up with regular routines. If schools are closed, create a schedule for learning 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.
Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for more information on helping your children cope with stress and anxiety, and for tips and tools to help your child thrive during uncertain times.
Your Employee Assistance Program is here to help
Your Employee Assistance Program is available to provide support to you and your family members during these challenging times. Your EAP provides resources to assist you and your family members 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including counseling services. For more information, contact your Component EAP, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.