In a recently published American study, it was found that 64% of school students reported increased anxiety about the pandemic.
Given we’re now in the midst of a Delta Variant pandemic, anxiety may challenge children. Here are steps researchers recommend that parents can take to help reduce their kids’ anxiety:
1. Look for general symptoms of anxiety: Ask your kids how they’re feeling. Keep an eye out for headaches, stomach aches, sleeping troubles, persistent “what if” questions, crankiness and excessive concern about the pandemic. An example of this might be worrying there’s been no progress in fighting the pandemic, despite widespread effective vaccines and better treatment.
2. Encourage activities that reduce anxiety: Playing outside, playing with friends or even just “hanging out” can be powerful ways to reduce feelings of anxiety. Outdoor activity has proven to help people feel relaxed, so seek safe activities in the outdoors.
3. Help your kids understand the pandemic: Children may not understand what a vaccine is, for example, and how it can protect against disease. Knowledge reduces anxiety and children are no exception.
4. Focus on family activities: The emotional connection that children have with their families is their psychological anchor during difficult times. At a time when so much of everyday life has changed, spending time with family can be an antidote for uncertainty.
5. Embrace distraction: Distraction isn’t a cure for anxiety, but it can diminish its intensity.
6. Get professional help when needed: If your child’s anxiety is interfering with sleep, eating, socialising or school attendance, and it persists beyond a few days, it’s a good idea to call your doctor and report what’s going on. Medical professionals who work with children are familiar with pandemic-induced anxiety and know how to get your child the necessary help.