Supporting your child’s mental health during COVID-19: Five tips for families

COVID-19 has impacted daily routines. Families are now navigating distance learning, canceled events, and continued social distancing to name a few. It is important to be aware that these changes may affect your child’s mental health.

Elizabeth Pruett RN, MSN, CPNP, is a Board-Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Neighborhood Health Center. She shared a few tips for families trying to cope during this challenging time.

  • Move your body. 

Everyone needs to take brain breaks: from work, from computers, and from each other.

Put on a mask, grab an umbrella and take a walk outside! Just 20 minutes of fresh air and exercise can do wonders for your mental health.

  • Set a routine.

Try to set up a realistic and achievable set of goals and a routine for your school and workday.

Set up a comfortable, bright and quiet space to do school or office work at home, and set up a consistent structure. This will help everyone feel better and know what to expect. This includes trying to maintain “normal” bedtime and mealtime routines.

Post your routine in a place where everyone in the home can see it. Review it for changes and use timers if helpful.

  • Practice gratitude. 

Each day, try to find at least one thing to do that is fun and one thing to be thankful for.

Take time to share your gratitude with other members of your household. Mealtimes are a great time to do this.

  • Limit your news intake. 

Set some limits on the amount of news and social media you take in at home.

Shut off the news and social media feeds and enjoy the quiet. You can use this time to meditate or practice yoga: kids and families can do this together!

  • Be kind to yourself.

Remember to be kind to yourself and cut yourself some slack. This is a difficult time for everyone.

Lastly, take care of yourself and others by getting a flu shot this year!

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