Newsdio.com Staff : — With coronavirus disease (COVID-19) reaching epidemic proportions, many US children are growing increasingly anxious about what this means for their own health and safety and that of their friends and family.The constantly changing numbers of people affected by the virus and the evolving situation mean daily life for many children is affected in some way, with school trips, sports tournaments, and family vacations being postponed or canceled.
All children may have a heightened level of worry, and some who are normally anxious might be obsessing more about handwashing or getting sick.
Experts say there are ways to manage this fear to help children feel safe and appropriately informed.
Clinicians and other adults should provide children with honest and accurate information geared to their age and developmental level, said David Fassler, MD, clinical professor of psychiatry, University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine, Burlington, and member of the Consumer Issues Committee of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
That said, it’s also acceptable to let children know that some questions can’t be answered, said Fassler.
Be Truthful, Calm
“This is partly because the information keeps changing as we learn more about how the virus spreads, how to best protect communities, and how to treat people who get sick,” he added.
Clinicians and parents should remind children “that there are a lot of adults who are working very hard to keep them safe,” said Eli R. Lebowitz, PhD, associate professor in the Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, who directs a program for anxiety.
It’s important for adults to pay attention not only to what they say to children but also how they say it, said Lebowitz. He highlighted the importance of talking about the virus “in a calm and matter-of-fact way” rather than in an anxious way.
“If you look scared or tense or your voice is conveying that you’re really scared, the child is going to absorb that and feel anxious as well,” he noted.
This advice also applies when adults are discussing the issue among themselves. They should be aware that “children are listening” and are picking up any anxiety or panic adults are expressing. Read full article here.