Tips to alleviate children’s anxiety about COVID-19 - MetroFamily Magazine
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Tips to alleviate children’s anxiety about COVID-19

by Stacey Johnson, LPC

Protecting our families’ mental health is paramount in this health pandemic. Read on for tips to cultivate calm in your home and protect your family’s mental wellness during this season of uncertainty.

  1. The No. 1 way to alleviate anxiety in our children during the COVID-19 pandemic is to eliminate anxiety language from our conversations. For example, using words like precautions, measures, help, protection and safety versus words like panic, overreaction, scared and crisis. We should also keep these language boundaries as we discuss among adults — we know the littles are often listening to us at the most ridiculous times and then repeating our words. Why do they not have such spectacular listening skills when we’ve asked them to do a thing 83 times? Needless to say, our words, facial expressions, tones and language will send them the message of how they should feel in their little bodies. Keep calm, speak with grounding words and hold your anxious expressions for behind closed doors.
  2. Information keeps the anxious bugs away, but keep it essential. Too many details can cause more concern than our babies need right now.
  3. Explain quarantine with a positive perspective, not eliminating the truth, but being selective of essential details that directly affect our littles. Embrace conversations filled with the ways this time will bring us closer as a family and provide space for us to try new things, create, rest, play, eat and explore the world from our homes together!
  4. Create a routine. I recommend creating a poster schedule of what is available at specified times that you can hang up for the kids to see the things they can look forward to and alleviate the idea of losing routine and order. Show them your home’s new rituals that they can be excited about and depend on, even if it’s just 2 or 3 staples a day.
  5. Organize and make use of resources. Start a folder collection of all the goods you can pull from all day every day! Here are just a few ideas we are planning for our post-Spring Break routine:
    • Zoo lives (OKC and many other cities!)
    • Free yoga & dance classes (I like Down Dog app, and our Studio 7 OKC will be sharing live, free dance classes for kids and adults starting next week!)
    • Art classes (Cassie Stephens is one of my favs!)
    • Include screen-free time with activities like hide & seek or journal time
    • Cook together! Make naan pizzas is on of our fam favs! I recommend talking about the ingredients you’re using while cooking with kiddos — this makes them so much more mindful and appreciative of healthy choices your making for them.
    • My sweet friend Erin Loechner is making her homeschool curriculum Other Goose available to us all for free right now!
  6. Keep hugging, reading stories and making room to “be with” one another. Being fully present as much as possible will alleviate anxiety. The more present we are with our precious miracles the less they care about anything but being with you!

Stacey Johnson‘s jam is three things: to encourage, equip and empower women with truth bombs and practical tools. Stacey is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy. She owns her private counseling practice, The Purple Couch, in Oklahoma City, is founder of Single Space, a community of encouragement for single women that meets across chapters in three cities every year and owns and teaches at Studio 7, a creative, judgment-free dance studio inspiring children and adults of all styles and levels to dance their best life. Stacey resides in Edmond with her husband and family, and her greatest accomplishment and joy in life is their eight amazing children, six of which are adopted miracles! Follow her on Instagram at @staceyjlife. 

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