Fear, Worry, or Anxiety

  • Worry graphic If your child is demonstrating signs of fear, worry or anxiety …Try these strategies:

    • Label their emotions:
      • For example,
        • “How do you feel when ____ happens.”
        • “You look upset to me. Can you tell me how you are feeling?”
      • Allow your child to talk freely
      • Ask them open questions (e.g. what, how, why) to describe their feelings.
    • Normalize their emotions:
      • You can tell them that it is natural to be worried or nervous at times.
      • Let them know that there are times that you are also worried and anxious.
      • You can then tell them how you handle stress and serve as a role model for them in coping with challenges associated with COVID.
      • Tell your child it is natural to be worried or afraid at times.
      • If they are feeling worried or anxious:
    • Reduce their emotions:
      • Make sure to correct misinformation as children often imagine situations that are worse than reality. 
      • “I know you are nervous about the virus, but there are things we can do to keep from getting sick. Let’s practice those things together”
      • Teach your child relaxation strategies, such as deep breathing or belly breathing.
      • Act as a role model, showing them how you handle strong emotions.
      • Be honest and accurate about social distancing and why routines are changing, but focus on the positive (e.g., “Isn’t it great that we have more time to spend together!”).
      • Empathize with your child’s feelings but do not reinforce fears
      • Keep a regular schedule/routine.
    • Focus on the positive:
      • Celebrate having more time as a family - do family projects and make it as fun as possible. 
      • Allow older children to connect with their friends virtually.
      • Encourage positive actions, such as writing a caring letter to a family member or friend.
      • Remind your children that you are available to them, that you care about them, and that they can talk to you anytime.