COVID-19: 4 Articles

New Books to Help Kids Cope with COVID-19

For parents and caregivers who are looking for COVID-19 resources to explain the pandemic to their children, Magination Press called on some of its experts to write books for children, tweens, and teens on the topic.  Available free from Magination press, these books can help children through this challenging time. A Kid's Guide to Coronavirus By Rebecca Growe, MSW, LCSW, and Julia Martin Burch, PhD Illustrated by Viviana Garofoli Kids have a lot of questions about the coronavirus pandemic and all the new changes in their lives. This colorful picture book gives them the answers they've been looking for, explaining what the virus is, how it spreads, and what they can do to help, in gentle and simple language that even the youngest kids can follow. A Note to Parents and Caregivers offers strategies for helping your kids navigate anxiety they might be feeling around the pandemic. Unstuck! 10 Things to Do to Stay Safe and Sane During the Pandemic By Bonnie Zucker, PsyD In this stressful time, there are losses, uncertainties, and changes, all which can create a lot of feelings. Feelings are never right or wrong, they just are, and expressing feelings can help. This activity book includes journal prompts and activities to help tweens and teens manage stress and anxiety, express emotions, and cultivate creativity and gratitude. Unstuck! includes a Note to Readers with more information about healthy coping. Click here to download free pdf versions of the books or ebook versions of A Kid's Guide to Coronavirus or Unstuck!

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New Books to Help Kids Cope with COVID-19 2020-05-26T11:50:39-04:00

Tips to Help Your Socially Anxious Child Stay Engaged Amid COVID-19

Around the world, children’s social lives have drastically changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent physical distancing.  For many children, these changes represent major losses of beloved activities, including school, extra-curricular activities, and playdates. For socially anxious children, however, the many cancellations may come as a relief since they no longer need to attend potentially anxiety-provoking activities. As a parent or caretaker, it can be concerning to watch your socially anxious child withdraw during this already challenging time. However, there are many small steps you can take to encourage your child to be social and build skills in this area—even during the pandemic. Why Facing Fears is Important  It is important for socially anxious children to practice engaging in social situations, even though it is hard. This is because when children consistently avoid something that they fear, their brain misses out on several key learning opportunities. These include the chance to learn that the situation is rarely as bad as anxiety predicts it will be, that they can handle feelings of anxiety even though they are uncomfortable, and that their level of anxiety will likely decrease if they stay in the social situation. In a socially anxious child’s typical day to day life, they have countless opportunities to practice engaging in social situations to teach their brain these important lessons. By creating opportunities for your socially anxious child to continue to engage with peers in quarantine, you can help their brains continue to learn these lessons.  Create a Bravery Plan Sit down with your child and explain that you want to help them boss back anxiety and continue to practice facing fears, as they were doing so bravely before the quarantine started. It can be helpful to reflect together on how they feel after pushing themselves to engage in a social situation. Proud? Accomplished? Reflect back often to these observations to help build and maintain your child’s motivation.  Collaboratively brainstorm with your child a list of potential social interactions. Do your best to get creative and try to think of ways to replicate the activities they participate in during their non-quarantine life. These might include (virtual) playdates, book clubs, singalongs, games, concerts, or show and tell with objects from each child’s home. If classmates or peers live nearby, your child might bike, walk, or scoot by their homes and say a physically-distanced hello.  After creating a list, let your child choose where they are comfortable starting. It is usually helpful to start small (e.g., saying “hi” over text to someone they are comfortable with) and eventually build to more challenging interactions. It can be helpful to repeat an activity several times to allow your child to get more comfortable with it before moving on to a slightly harder activity. After your child engages in the activity, have a brief conversation to help them notice if the activity was as scary as anxiety said it would be and if they were able to handle it. This brief reflection helps

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Tips to Help Your Socially Anxious Child Stay Engaged Amid COVID-19 2020-05-22T19:15:33-04:00

Helping Kids Cope When COVID-19 Hits Home

Children may expect others to periodically get a cold or even the flu. What happens to children, however, if they learn that a loved one has COVID-19?  Knowledge About the Virus Many families have made significant adjustments to their daily routines due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Depending upon the age of your child, you may have explained that all of these changes, including social distancing, are how we can avoid getting a serious virus called COVID-19. Your child may even know, from you or from watching the news, that this virus can be deadly. Knowing that COVID-19 is serious can help children understand the reasons for changes in their daily activities, but it can also lead to them having more concerns about a loved one diagnosed with it. They may fear that they will catch it too! Talking With Your Children Even the youngest children will need some information about what is happening if a parent or someone else in the household is ill, since that person will be isolated from the family.  It’s generally best to talk with each child individually since age and personality may impact what you share and what questions might be asked. When talking with a child or teenager, try these tips if a caregiver is the one ill: think about whether or not your child would benefit from knowing that the person has COVID-19; when possible, wait to talk with your child until you have had a chance to think through how you want to explain the situation; let your child know that he or she has a support team (name them). If one person isn’t available, there are others who will step in as caregivers (this helps in case you, unfortunately, also get sick);  explain what you are doing to reduce the chances of others getting sick.  If your child is worried about becoming ill, you can share that kids don’t usually have serious symptoms even if they do get it; if you say that the loved one has COVID-19, add that lots of people are sick for a few weeks so your child doesn’t expect the person to be better in a day or two; for many young children, it’s okay to explain symptoms in general. For example,  “Mom has a fever and a cough.”  Other children may need more details or just need to know that the parent isn’t well; if the person is at home, explain how and why routines need to be changed for a while. “Grandpa has to stay in a private room to get better and to avoid giving us the virus.”; avoid giving overly optimistic, or pessimistic, descriptions of what’s happening; if a child asks detailed questions, and you don’t feel that you either know the answer or know how to explain it, it’s okay to say that you need to think about the question and will continue the discussion soon. Before and after your talk, monitor your child to see if your child’s behaviors or emotions are

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Helping Kids Cope When COVID-19 Hits Home 2020-04-29T20:53:36-04:00