The rapidly changing COVID-19 pandemic has left many individuals feeling anxious, including children and teens. To support parents and caregivers during this time Gene Beresin, MD, Executive Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds outlined seven tips to engage with kids to maintain their emotional stability during this time.

  1. Control your anxiety – Manage your anxiety by seeking out credible information, reach out to your support network, don’t forget about your physical health, and lastly be honest with your child about your anxiety.
  2. Start a conversation – Ask your child what they know. There is a lot of information about COVID-19 everywhere. Make sure to ask open ended questions.
  3. Validate their feelings and concerns – Acknowledge any valid concerns they have and reassure them.
  4. Be available for questions and share new information – As COVID-19 is an ongoing outbreak, more conversations will need to be had. Make sure to update your kids with new information.
  5. Model good behavior – Be sure to demonstrate good prevention behavior (ex. Hand washing, coughing into your elbow, etc.). Maybe even practice these behaviors together.
  6. Provide reassurance – Reassure your kids by providing examples of other challenging situations you’ve overcome as a family.
  7. Refrain from blaming others – During stressful times there is a tendency to blame others. Be sure to ask kids what they know and address any discrimination against a group of people.

For more information, visit the Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds website.