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SingleCare shared Kids and COVID-19/Back-to-School Stressors

11/05/2021

SingleCare took a national survey to ask kids/teens aged 13-18 what their stressors were heading back into school, and to no surprise, the majority answered with COVID-related concerns. Our children are hyper-aware of the issue surrounding us, and it is bringing them a different type of stress than it does for adults. To them, they are in the middle of a constant argument about vaccines and masks, left without extra-curriculars, worried about family members losing jobs, and scared for their academic future. How can we help our kids handle their COVID anxiety? SingleCare provided us with some answers.

SingleCare identified the main topics of COVID-19 related stress: Confusion over disagreements, routines being disrupted, family finances, and general change. Here are some of the statistics taken from the survey SingleCare conducted:

  • 88% reported concern about how long the pandemic will last
  • 85% reported concern about people they cared about contracting COVID-19
  • 81% reported concern about how many more people will contract COVID-19
  • 78% reported concern about personally contracting COVID-19
  • 72% reported concern about preparing emotionally for the school year

Other concerns reported by teens included:

  • Their personal sense of safety and security (67%)
  • Falling behind in academics (67%)
  • Falling behind in extracurricular activities (65%)
  • Their physical health (63%)
  • A parent losing their job (62%)
  • Their mental health (61%)
  • Having less “me” time (59%)

There are many ways to support your children during this time. SingleCare took the opportunity to give parents and caregivers some guidance on how to talk to their children during this difficult time with an understanding and validating approach. Here are some ways SingleCare suggests talking about concerns:

Concern: Fear about how long the pandemic will last

What to say: Many parents say things like, “There’s nothing to worry about,” which doesn’t actually help the child stop worrying. Instead parents can say, “I know you’re worried, but the grown-ups are handling this.” (Dr. Friedman)

Concern: Confusion about what constitutes safe behavior

What to say: Talking about how you feel can open up the conversation. For example: “Mommy was nervous when we went to the store and didn’t know if we had to wear a mask or not. What about you?” (Dr. Lacherza-Drew)

Concern: A parent’s job loss or the state of family finances

What to say: Don’t lie or minimize or try to cover up financial hardship. Tell them the high-level information that is true and necessary for them to know. For example: “I’m not getting as many hours at work, and we need to cut back on spending.” (Marter)

Concern: Frustration about ongoing restrictions

What to say: Listening and validating children’s feelings is so important. “It’s sad you won’t be able to do [ACTIVITY] like before.” This can help kids feel heard and understood. (Martinez)

“Anxiety can look different from child to child,” Dr. Eccleston explains. “The most important point is to be observant and look for any significant changes that you recognize may be impacting your child’s overall wellbeing.” SingleCare encourages finding outside help. Counselors, friends and family members, even Reach Out Oregon. There are many resources available to help you navigate this difficult, and it’s never too early or too late to ask for help. We are always here for you! 

Call or text 1-833-732-2467, Live-chat with us, or even start a conversation on our discussion forum!

To read the full article, click HERE

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