Expert Pitch

McLean Hospital: How to Help Kids and Families Keep a Healthy Mindset During the Coronavirus Crisis

With the spread of the coronavirus, families face trying times. More and more information about the crisis comes every day, but the information isn’t always complete or even accurate. Confusion and anxiety plagues everyone—adults and kids. It’s hard to be calm and feel safe.

Here are a few tips for families coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parents, Be Kind to Yourself

Many families are finding themselves in the unique situation of working remotely while managing children who are out of school and stuck at home. Kathryn D. Boger, PhD, ABPP, program director of McLean Anxiety Mastery Program, explained that “it can be easy to fall into the trap of self-blame when children are fighting, and workdays aren’t going as planned.”

Boger recommended that parents go easy on themselves. She suggested catching self-punishing thoughts and repeating mini-mantras throughout the day, such as “This is not the time for perfection” and “I’m doing the best I can in a really tough situation.”

Accept What You Can and Cannot Control

According to Boger, “Anxiety breeds on uncertainty, and this is a time of great uncertainty for everyone.” In an effort to grasp for certainty and control, people can get stuck in unhelpful patterns of behavior, including watching the news on repeat and hoarding certain supplies, like toilet paper. Instead, Boger recommends that we “acknowledge the ultimate lack of certainty and control that we all have in this situation and determine the things that actually are under our control.”

For example, you can limit exposure to the news for yourselves and your children, and you can plan your days to include structure. You also can create lists for needed food supplies and medications. Make sure that contact information for your health care providers, work colleagues, family members, and friends is up to date. Reach out to those close to you and stay in regular contact to support each other.

Focus on the Present

“When our brains are anxious, they tend to live in the future, worrying about what’s to come,” said Boger. She recommended practicing bringing your brain back to the present moment throughout the day. Focus your brain on one thing in the current moment, such as the feeling of your feet on the ground and the suds on your hands as you wash dishes, the smell of the food in your kitchen, or the sound of your child’s voice.

Model Healthy Coping

Yes, the COVID-19 crisis is creating new and unusual problems for families and kids, but the basics of self-care remain the same. We all need plenty of sleep, healthy meals, good hygiene, and regular (now largely virtual) social interactions to be well. And don’t ignore tried-and-true techniques to manage stress and anxiety, like daily physical activity, breathing exercises, and mindfulness.

Stock image of man and woman on couch and young girl drawing on floor
Keeping a healthy mindset is important for kids and parents alike

Boger recommended that parents practice these activities alongside their children to model effective coping. “You can run up and down stairs and do jumping jacks with your children and practice meditations or paced breathing with them in brief, several-minute intervals between work meetings. Notice together how these activities can influence your mood and energy levels,” she said.

Talk to Your Children

Boger encouraged parents to have regular conversations with their kids about COVID-19. Tell them that there are experts who are working hard to combat the crisis and that you will share important information with them. Also, ask them what they have heard about the coronavirus. Encourage them to share their feelings, and let children know that it’s understandable and OK to feel the way they feel.

Give Kids a Plan

Just like adults, children can benefit from following clear plans to cope with COVID-19. Let kids know that the risk of contracting the coronavirus is low, and prevention is the best way to keep safe. Emphasize the importance of handwashing and create clear plans for practicing good hygiene. Also, encourage them to talk to you regularly about their health and report any symptoms they might have.

Get Good Information

Finding accurate and up-to-date information about the coronavirus can be a full-time job. Make it easier by checking trusted sources, like the Centers for Disease ControlWorld Health Organization, and Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress.




Filters close

Showing results

110 of 5639
access_time Embargo lifts in 2 days
Embargo will expire: 20-May-2021 10:00 AM EDT Released to reporters: 14-May-2021 2:40 PM EDT

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 20-May-2021 10:00 AM EDT The Newswise PressPass gives verified journalists access to embargoed stories. Please log in to complete a presspass application. If you have not yet registered, please Register. When you fill out the registration form, please identify yourself as a reporter in order to advance to the presspass application form.

Released: 14-May-2021 11:25 AM EDT
Access to overdose-reversing drugs declined during pandemic, researchers find
Beth Israel Lahey Health

In a new study, clinician-researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) analyzed naloxone prescription trends during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and compared them to trends in opioid prescriptions and to overall prescriptions.

Released: 14-May-2021 11:00 AM EDT
No Excuses: Stop Procrastinating on These Key Health Checks
Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

A quick guide to the most-valuable preventive care that adults need to get scheduled, to catch up on what they may have missed during the height of the pandemic, and to address issues that the pandemic might have worsened.

Released: 13-May-2021 7:05 PM EDT
FLCCC Statement on the Irregular Actions of Public Health Agencies & the Disinformation Campaign Against Ivermectin
Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC Alliance)

FLCCC Alliance calls for whistleblower to step forward from within WHO, the FDA, the NIH, Merck, or Unitaid to counter this misrepresentation

Newswise: shutterstock_1724336896.jpg
Released: 13-May-2021 12:55 PM EDT
Kreuter receives $1.9 million in grants to increase vaccinations in St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis

Matthew Kreuter, the Kahn Family Professor of Public Health at the Brown School, has received $1.9 million in grants to help increase COVID-19 vaccinations among Blacks in St. Louis City and County.

Released: 13-May-2021 11:35 AM EDT
COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines are Immunogenic in Pregnant and Lactating Women, Including Against Viral Variants
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

In a new study from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center researchers evaluated the immunogenicity of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines in pregnant and lactating women who received either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. They found that both vaccines triggered immune responses in pregnant and lactating women.

Released: 13-May-2021 10:30 AM EDT
Pandemic stigma: Foreigners, doctors wrongly targeted for COVID-19 spread in India
Monash University

The Indian public blamed foreigners, minority groups and doctors for the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the country during the first wave, due to misinformation, rumour and long-held discriminatory beliefs, according to an international study led by Monash University.

Released: 13-May-2021 9:15 AM EDT
28 Community Programs Receive Grants Through Penn Medicine CAREs Program
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Penn Medicine CAREs awarded grants to 28 projects, many of which aim to fill vast needs in the community created by the COVID-19 pandemic, while others seek to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion.


Showing results

110 of 5639

close
1.15275