Parent Survival Guide: Helping kids tackle stress and anxiety

Updated: Feb. 1, 2021 at 1:10 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - As the fight against the ongoing threat of the coronavirus continues, the psychological affects could be showing itself in other ways, especially for kids.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the pandemic is taking a toll on children’s mental health and, in some cases, causing kids to be more stressed and anxious.

Saundra Hatton has three daughters who range from middle school to high school. She says the pandemic has had a different effect on each of her girls, making it even more important for her to check in on their emotional needs.“I get with each of my kids on a daily basis and ask how was your day how are you doing, what can I do for you to be a better mom those sort of things,” Hattan says.

Hattan says since the start of the pandemic she has used the check in’s as a way to reconnect with her daughters like never before. ”We have been doing puzzles reading together working out in the yard and it’s giving them life skills for things to do around the house and to do together,” Hattan says.

Psychotherapist Dr. Margaret Cochran says talking and listening to your kids is especially important during a time like now. She says just as adults want to be heard so do kids.

”If you listen to your child they feel connected to you,” Cochran says. “They feel safer and often just off loading what bothers them and makes them feel better.” Cochran says that with less social interaction and social distancing kids, and even adults, are lacking in human touch.

”Inside the household remember to hug and to rub each others backs a little bit stroke your child’s hair and give them kisses. Touch is important especially for kids dealing with mental illness most typically anxiety or depression,” Cochran says. She also says don’t be afraid to seek help for your child for their stress or anxiety.

Hatton says counseling helped her girls adjust during the beginning of the pandemic.

”That was a blessing because they got to talk about what’s bothering them and he did not share what they said but I was able to act on that as a parent,” Hattan says.

Cochran says when it comes to parents self care is important.

”As awful as this pandemic is there are some good things and we can teach our children about resilience about flexibility and persistence.” Cochran says. “To come from the ashes and be better than they were about compassion and kindness there is so much to be learned.”

Cochran says in order to be the best for your kids you have to first take care of yourself.

Talking to other parents and staying connected with friends and family as well as getting more sleep and taking time to exercise is key.

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