How to improve your child's mental health during the coronavirus pandemic

Mental health experts at Wellstone tell WAAY 31 parents should try to reduce their children's stress by maintaining a daily routine and participating in fun activities, like playing outside.

Posted: Apr 11, 2020 3:29 PM
Updated: Apr 13, 2020 8:45 AM

Mental health experts say children may start feeling stressed from being home for so long.

We are learning what you can do to help your children's mental health during the pandemic.

Mental health experts at Wellstone tell WAAY 31 parents should try to reduce their children's stress by maintaining a daily routine and participating in fun activities, like playing outside.

"There have definitely been some ups and downs, but we've been trying to make the most of, we've overall had good weather," said parent, Jeanne Ackerman.

Ackerman's been doing her best to keep her eight-year-old, Jonathan, busy, mainly by playing outside as much as they can.

"Being outside has been super helpful. It has been an adjustment for him," said Ackerman.

She says being stuck in the house during the coronavirus pandemic has been difficult.

"He misses his friends at school and he's an only child, so he's not having kid interaction. So, that's been probably the hardest part," said Ackerman.

Ackerman isn't the only one who has seen how being cooped up can impact a child.

"My two grandchildren who are two and one years old, they live with us, and even those two are just going nuts," said Sally Marsh with the Children's Ministry at St. Johns Episcopal Church.

Mental health professionals at Wellstone say you can help your child by doing these three things: keep them on a routine, make sure they are physically active, and connect with friends and family over the internet.

"They're stuck inside. They can't socialize with their families so they are doing it on Zoom or Facebook," said Marsh.

In addition, it's important to make sure kids are eating right and sleeping well. If you do start to notice mood swings or excessive sadness, seek help.

Meanwhile, Sally Marsh is setting up Easter egg hunts for children at her church, and Ackerman is making sure her son is getting the exercise he needs.

"I wanted to make sure that they physically had to do where we could still make that connection with the children of our parish," said Marsh.

"Just stick to a routine, and take it one day at a time basically," said Ackerman.

Mental health professionals say now could also be a good time to expose kids to new activities they haven't tried before, like a sport or art craft.

Experts say if children are stressed, parents can also sit down and have an open conversation about the coronavirus.

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