Support for Emotional Health at Home

A Message for Parents

Coping During Coronavirus

The longer children are apart from friends, family, school or social events, the harder it may be for them to cope through this time at home. Using the acronym COPE, here are some ideas and resources that may be helpful.

Stay CONNECTED & Stay CALM

Children need to maintain relationships with friends and family regularly during this time through the use of a variety of media including calls, texts, emails, social networking, and even writing letters to loved ones.

Relaxation Activities to Do at Home with Kids
Tips for Calming Kids’ Anxiety during Coronavirus
Tips for Talking to Children About Coronavirus

Stay OCCUPIED

Finding new things to do can help children who are overcome with boredom.  Here are links to some great activities to help children occupy their time.

Super fun KIDS Workout! 8-Minute HIIT fitness class by Kid Explorer
Crayola: Create & Learn at Home
Caring for Each Other from your friends at Sesame Street

Stay POSITIVE

Negative thoughts cause negative feelings. Even though all the news reports may be negative, help your children focus on the silver linings of having more family time. Planning for future events can also be helpful.

5 Ways for Kids to Stay Positive (Works for Adults Too!)
Dynomike – A.S.P. Always Stay Positive
Sesame Street: Happy Thoughts Song

EXPRESS Your Feelings

Encourage your children to express their feelings by talking about it with a parent or friend. Children can also write about their feelings. Here are some resources to help them do that.

Don’t Feed the Worrybug Reading and Activities
Fill Up Your Worry Cup…. After filling your cup, be sure to talk about it with an adult.
Journal Prompts for Kids Stuck at Home

While the coronavirus has brought us a very different way of life as we shelter in place, this experience is also giving us opportunities to learn to live together in new ways. These last two resources provide a variety of ideas and activities to help your children stay connected, stay calm, stay occupied, stay positive, and express feelings of anxiety during their days at home.

18 Coping Skills: Strategies for Children and Teens from the Helpful Counselor Helping Children Cope with Changes Resulting from COVID-19

Cathy Grewe, MA., LPC
Student Services Coordinator
Wood County Schools

Emotional Health Check

Life is suddenly very different for our students. Many of our children may feel an emotional strain during this sudden disruption in their lives, and may experience some degree of fear and anxiety as all media and adult conversations center on this viral pandemic. Times such as these are scary for adults and even more so for children. As we focus on children staying healthy and maintaining learning, we also need to pay attention to the emotional state of our children and ways that we can help them cope through this time of crisis. 

A good start to an emotional “health check” with your child is a simple conversation. A reassuring talk goes a long way to helping kids feel safe. Take time to talk with your child. Ask them what they have heard about the virus and what they think about it.  The experts suggest that we don’t dismiss their anxious thoughts, but take the time to give them the opportunity to share their feelings.

As you communicate with your children about their feelings, be on the lookout for signs of severe stress, anxiety or depression. Symptoms of depression vary in children and often become evident in changes in behaviors or moods such as irritability, anger, or sadness.

If you feel your child is having difficulty coping or showing signs of depression, you can reach out to one of our school based mental health providers. The agencies listed below are providing online therapy or tele-mental health services for their current school based clients and for new clients as well.

Cathy Grewe, MA., LPC
Student Services Coordinator
Wood County Schools

Tips to Help Parents & Students Navigate Online Schooling & Staying Mentally Healthy

As we all navigate this new way of learning and living, here are some resources that may assist you.

Remain calm and reassuring.  This is a stressful time for everyone, including your child.

– Pay attention to when your child is becoming overwhelmed or anxious, either because of school work, the change in routine, the current health crisis, or some other reason.
– Give yourself and your child permission to take breaks from work, and from each other, at various points.
– See the additional resources provided for further information.
– If you believe further assistance is needed for your child, additional school based mental health providers that serve our students are provided.  

Limit your child’s exposure to the media.
Make yourself available for age appropriate conversations with your child.
Ensure you are communicating regularly with your child’s school.

– Monitor online school work or written packets (whichever is used).
– Check that work is completed and submitted by your child.
– Call the school with questions, as needed.

Maintain a normal routine, with a set schedule for the day.  This will decrease anxiety and allow your child to focus and provide structure to their day.  Have a time for school work and a time for play.  See the links below for sample schedule suggestions:

Macaroni Kid | Prodigy

Qualities for success

– Making a notebook
– Learn to study wisely
– Taking notes
– Managing Time
– Dealing with Disruptions
– Stick with a Schedule
– Breaking down your week day by day
– Prioritize – what work to do first?

Help your child organize a workspace in your home to optimize learning performance.

Pick a room or work space that suites your child’s learning style.

– Do they need a distraction free zone to work in, or do they study best with a little background noise, but not too much?
– Can they work in their bedroom, or do they need a separate space?
– In order to minimize distractions, try not place the desk/workspace in a room everyone else uses, such as the living room or family den.
– Size of the space – does it fit their needs?

You might consider developing new family activity time 

– Play age appropriate board games together.
– Play age appropriate card games together (Examples – skip-bo, uno, etc.)
– Puzzles
– Go for walks or have exercise time (Examples- Wii fit, yoga, etc.)
– Read to your child or have older siblings read to younger children.

Anna Klosek, M.A., Ed.S., LPC
Safe and Healthy Student Liaison
Wood County Schools

Additional Resources

National Association of School Psychologists
Talking to Children About COVID-19: A Parent Resource

The New York Times
How to Home School During Coronavirus

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