Kids are dealing with a lot of upset these days. Schools are closed. Schedules are disrupted. Everything is changing all the time. This creates a level of stress many children haven’t experienced before. To help you, and your children, navigate pandemic stress we asked Dr. Chris Ladish, chief clinical officer of Pediatric Behavioral Health at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital to share ideas that help children cope. For tips by age, and for special needs kids, check out these guides for parents:
- Special needs parenting guide
- Preschool parenting guide for children ages 2-5
- Grade school parenting guide for children 6- 12
- Adolescent parenting guide for children 13 – 18
Ladish also suggests three how to’s for parenting through every stage of childhood.
Parenting Golden Rule #1 — Respond with Patience & Love
When you notice your child is feeling stressed, stay beside them. Reassure your child that you are here and that they are safe. Affirm your child with words and physical expressions like hugs, snuggles, and kisses. Expect that your child may regress in some areas. This is a normal response to stress and change.
Parenting Golden Rule #2 — Build Routines
Routines create predictability. Predictability creates feelings of stability. From wake up, to mealtimes, to recreation, to bedtime, staying within a regular daily timeframe helps children of all abilities and ages adapt to change.
Parenting Golden Rule #3 — Find Out What They Know
Start a conversation with your child by asking what they know. Listen to learn what your child knows and understands about the Coronavirus. Share what you know in a way that is safe and easy for your child to understand. Fill in any blanks in their information and take the time to discuss questions they have. This helps establish an exchange and gives you an opportunity to ease your child’s fears.