Expert Pitch

Tips for Navigating the COVID-19 Crisis at Home with Teens, Young Adults

A Rutgers expert discusses coping strategies during the public health crisis

Compared to young children, teenagers and young adults living and learning at home during the COVID-19 crisis may be feeling the loss of social connections and life experiences while struggling to manage their time.

Ann Murphy, director of the Northeast & Caribbean Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) and an associate professor at Rutgers School of Health Professions, addresses how to navigate five key challenges.

How can parents cope with teens’ and young adults’ reactions to social distancing?

This age group tends to feel invincible, have a lower sense of vulnerability generally and specifically in relationship to the new coronavirus. They may not recognize the importance of social distancing. For them it is a time when socialization and connection with peers is especially important and without these connections teens and young adults can feel sad and lonely.

You can help them understand the importance of social distancing by sharing or exploring reliable sources of information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Take time to discuss things they can do to feel more connected to their peers through remote means. For younger teens, this may mean relaxing some of your restrictions on social media use. Explore new apps and tools that can facilitate group chats and video connection so they can stay connected to their peers. These may include House Party, Google Meet, Facetime and Skype. While you don’t want to encourage them to be on their electronic devices all the time, it is important to recognize the critical role of socialization and connection to peers.

How can families help to diffuse increased levels of stress at home due to social distancing and more time together?

It is best to start by trying to have compassion for yourself and everyone in the family during this high stress time. Make a plan for everyone to have some private time. Teen years are a time when young people distance themselves more from parental connections and move closer toward peer connections. This is a healthy process that continues through young adulthood. Have a conversation with your child about how you can respect their privacy and alone time while still having them respect the needs of the family as a whole. Engage them in the process of making a plan so everyone can have the space they need.

Instill or maintain healthy habits and establish a new routine, including eating a healthy diet, engaging in daily physical activity and getting adequate sleep. A change in the usual routine can further lend itself to staying awake late into the night and sleeping in. While some modification of their sleep schedule can be OK, try to negotiate a reasonable sleep schedule and stick to it, avoiding sleeping too much.

What strategies can young adults use to succeed in online instruction?

Work with them to establish a school routine. When will they begin their school day? When will they take breaks? Consider when and where they work best. Is it earlier in the day or later in the afternoon or evening? Do they get the most done alone in their room or at the kitchen table with others around? Try encouraging them to use a calendar, writing down when they will work on which assignments. Break down large assignments into smaller tasks. Create interim “due dates” so they can hold themselves accountable and not let the assignments pile up until right before the official due date. This is a wonderful skill to develop and one that can benefit them in the future. Consider establishing small rewards or incentives they can use for motivation when they accomplish tasks. Identify what these rewards could be.

What do I do if my teen or young adult is struggling emotionally with the COVID-19 crisis?

Reassure them that anxiety during a public health crisis is normal. It is also normal for teens and young adults who are missing out on finishing their college semester, going to prom, participating in their school’s theater production or sports competition, class trips and graduations to feel disappointed, sad, angry, frustrated. It is important not to minimize the impact of these losses. Encourage them to talk about their feelings and listen without judgement or minimizing the significance of this loss. They can also talk with their friends about planning alternative events after the crisis.

Other practices that can be helpful are mindfulness and meditation, deep breathing, physical exercise, keeping a gratitude journal and creating art. There are many apps that can help, in addition to gyms and other physical activity sites offering free exercise classes online.

If you are concerned your child is experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition such as anxiety, depression or suicidal thoughts and think they need help, contact one of these numbers: SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline (800-985-5990 or text Talk With Us to 66746), SAMHSA’s National Helpline (800-662-HELP) or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-TALK).

What alternative activities can I encourage my teen or young adult to participate in so they have some distractions from school work and social media?

Many museums, national parks, zoos and other places have virtually opened their doors so you can take a tour. Musicians are free live-streaming concerts. Teens and young adults can design online photo scrapbooks of friends or family, or can explore a new hobby on YouTube or Pinterest. College-bound students can take virtual tours of campuses and make lists of questions they want to ask when they’re able to visit in person.




Filters close

Showing results

110 of 5575
Released: 6-May-2021 4:20 PM EDT
How to Win Over Vaccine Skeptics: Live Expert Panel for May 20, 3pm ET
Newswise

How to Win Over Vaccine Skeptics: Live Expert Panel for May 20, 3pm ET

Released: 6-May-2021 2:15 PM EDT
Review of the Emerging Evidence Demonstrating the Efficacy of Ivermectin in the Prophylaxis and Treatment of COVID-19
Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC Alliance)

After the Most Comprehensive Review to Date, a Panel of Leading Medical Experts Conclude that Ivermectin Should be Systematically and Globally Adopted for the Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19

Released: 6-May-2021 2:10 PM EDT
儿童同样面临COVID-19的长期影响
Mayo Clinic

COVID-19感染可能对部分儿童和青少年,以及成人的健康产生长期影响。虽然大多数COVID-19儿童感染者症状轻微或根本没有症状,但对于任何COVID-19感染者而言,即使病情轻微或没有症状,感染也可能产生长期影响。

Newswise: CSUCIVaxClinic4-29-21.JPG
Released: 6-May-2021 2:05 PM EDT
CSU Expands Vaccine Availability with New Partnerships
California State University (CSU) Chancellor's Office

Many CSU campuses now offer even more options for students and employees to get their COVID-19 shots, thanks to unique partnerships with national pharmacies and local hospitals.

Released: 6-May-2021 1:50 PM EDT
الأطفال أيضًا يواجهون آثارًا طويلة المدى لفيروس كورونا المستجد (كوفيد-19)
Mayo Clinic

مدينة روتشستر، ولاية مينيسوتا ― تؤثر الآثار طويلة المدى لعدوى فيروس كورونا المستجد (كوفيد-19) على صحة بعض الأطفال والمراهقين، وكذا البالغين. في حين أن معظم الأطفال المصابين بعدوى فيروس كورونا المستجد (كوفيد-19) يعانون من أعراض خفيفة أو لا تظهر عليهم أي أعراض على الإطلاق، فإن أي شخص أصيب بفيروس كورونا المستجد (كوفيد-19) - حتى لو كان المرض خفيفًا أو لم تظهر عليه أعراض - قد يُصاب بآثار طويلة المدى.

Released: 6-May-2021 1:35 PM EDT
As crianças também enfrentam efeitos de longo prazo da COVID-19
Mayo Clinic

Os efeitos de longo prazo da infecção por COVID-19 estão afetando a saúde de algumas crianças e adolescentes, bem como de adultos. Embora a maioria das crianças com infecção por COVID-19 tenha sintomas leves ou nenhum sintoma, qualquer pessoa que teve COVID-19, mesmo se leve ou sem sintomas, pode ter efeitos de longo prazo.

Newswise: Retired Nurse Returns to the Front Lines
Released: 6-May-2021 1:25 PM EDT
Retired Nurse Returns to the Front Lines
Rush University Medical Center

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Martha Kuhr, RN, came out of retirement to care for some of Rush University Medical Center's most severe COVID-19 patients in the CVICU.

Released: 6-May-2021 12:40 PM EDT
Achieving high COVID-19 vaccine coverage levels by summer can prevent millions of cases
CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy

With around 30 percent of the U.S. population now fully vaccinated, the rate of daily vaccinations has started to slow, raising concerns that greater efforts and investments may be needed to reach higher coverage levels.

Released: 6-May-2021 12:30 PM EDT
Los niños también enfrentan los efectos a largo plazo de la COVID-19
Mayo Clinic

Los efectos a largo plazo de la infección por COVID-19 están repercutiendo en la salud de algunos niños y adolescentes, además de los adultos. Si bien la mayoría de los niños con infección por COVID-19 tienen síntomas leves o no tienen síntomas en absoluto, cualquier persona que haya tenido COVID-19 (incluso si la enfermedad fue leve o no tuvieron síntomas) puede tener efectos a largo plazo.


Showing results

110 of 5575

close
1.51302