Tips to alleviate children's anxiety during COVID-19

Friday, July 31, 2020
Tips to alleviate children's anxiety during COVID-19

Parenting can be challenging at the best of times. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an understandable spike in anxiety for children and parents alike, causing us all to sometimes feel overwhelmed and a little out of control. Emotional regulation helps us to stay calm and focused when we are under stress, and is a skill that children continue to develop as they grow.

Here are some tips to help you and your child in times of stress:

  • Pause, take a big breath, slow down and notice what your body is telling you – this is a skill that adults have and children need help with
  • Start moving – walk, dance, bounce or jump on a trampoline
  • Pay attention to your child – let them know that you truly see them – labelling emotions can help. “I see you’re frustrated.”
  • Be understanding when children can’t regulate – they are still learning and it’s normal to make mistakes. Sit next to them rather than across from them.
  • Practice some strategies when you’re both not frustrated or angry e.g. take a deep breath, stomp your feet, clench your fists and let them go.
  • Teach children how to identify their emotions – use TV and books as examples “Gosh, Pepper Pig looks happy/sad/angry” and label emotions of book characters
  • When you lose your cool – forgive yourself. You’re human. Repair the damage and be kind to yourself
  • Take note of how you regulate. Do you like being in nature? Or talking with a friend? What helps you get to that optimal regulated zone?