Helping Kids Manage Stress During COVID and Beyond

Guest Post by Neve Spicer, Founder & Director at We The Parents


Successful stress management is something that comes with experience; during the unprecedented challenges doled out in tandem with the COVID-19 pandemic, virtually everyone has had a chance to practice this effort. Businesses, non-profits, families, and individuals have all faced the financial, psychological, and personal impacts of quarantine, which has made 2020 a far more challenging year than most.

  • America's unemployment rate hit a never-before-seen peak rate of 14.7% in April of 2020 [1], impacting businesses and individuals alike

  • Due to loss of funding, Johns Hopkins University Center for Civil Society Studies projected non-profit job losses of more than 1.6 million workers between March and May of 2020 [2]

  • Close to 93% of American households with school-aged children participated in some form of distance education during the pandemic thus far [3]

Though their pandemic experiences may initially be overlooked as parents struggle to mitigate their own stresses and struggles in this tough time, children are particularly vulnerable to feelings of stress relating to the pandemic. Feeling unsure about their family's safety, missing out on developmentally essential time with their peers, and adjusting to a completely new way of attending school are all concerns that can create stress for children.


As kids face these stresses in tandem with typical childhood concerns of body image, fitting in, and keeping up academically, parents may notice behavioral changes indicative of stress.


Signs of Childhood Stress:

  • Mood changes, including aggression, sadness, anxiety, or withdrawal

  • Changes to sleeping and eating habits

  • Loss of interest in friends, family, and pastimes

  • In younger children, emotionally or physically regressive behaviors

Helping kids cope with their stress during the pandemic and beyond centers around parental presence. Simply creating an open environment where feelings are shared and respected can do wonders, as can taking steps to reduce their stress triggers where possible. Extra love and reassurance go a long way during a tough time, as does maintaining routines -- children look to them for stability and comfort when things get difficult.


This visualization from We the Parents illuminates additional sources, signs, and coping strategies for tackling childhood stress.


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