GUEST COMMENTARY: In this crisis, your child's mental health starts with you

Colleen Colaner

As the COVID-19 virus continues to spread throughout the United States, children are likely to see or hear news about the pandemic and the loss of life. They might not understand all the details, but they are aware that a big, scary thing is happening. If you are a parent or are caring for a child, there are steps you can take to guide them through this crisis.

That guidance starts with acknowledging your child’s feelings about this rapidly changing world, in which children are experiencing their own fair share of loss. Their school communities are no longer available, which can cause a lot of sadness, anger and frustration. Their routines have been disrupted, which can lead to anxiety and uncertainty. As parents work from home, children may see their parents’ job-related stress and experience loneliness. High schoolers are missing important rites of passage such as prom, graduation, plays and sporting events.

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