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Tips to help children during a quarantine

Helping your family learn ways to cope is important.

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People deal with stress in different ways, and children and teens may respond more intensely to it than others. Helping your family learn ways to cope is important. This is especially true given the recent outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19.

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It’s important for parents to know when their children may be feeling stress. Signs may include:

  • Changes in eating or sleeping
  • Alcohol, tobacco or other drug use
  • Acting clingy, withdrawn or anxious
  • Trouble paying attention or concentrating
  • Headaches or other body aches for no reason
  • Withdrawing from school or activities they used to enjoy
  • Going back to behaviors they’ve grown out of, like bedwetting
  • Crying a lot or being grouchy, as well as “acting out,” such as outbursts of anger
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If you and your household are under quarantine and need to stay away from others, there’s help. Here are some tips to help support your children during this time.
 
Share information

Talk with your children about COVID-19. Listen and answer any questions they may have in a way they understand.

Help them feel secure

Let them know they’re safe and that it’s OK to feel upset. Share how you deal with stress to help them learn from you.

Limit how much news they read or watch

This includes social media. Make sure your children know they can ask you questions at any time.

Create regular routines

If school is closed, set a regular schedule for learning. Make sure to include fun activities, too. You may need a routine as well. You could suggest family game night or a social distance walk around the neighborhood.

Set a good example

Show your children ways to stay healthy. Keep healthy eating habits, and get plenty of rest and physical activity.

Stay connected

Set up how you’ll keep in touch with friends and family. You can text, make phone calls, write letters or chat online.

If you’re worried about your child feeling stressed, call our Emotional Support Help Line at 1-866-342-6892. It's free and anyone can use it. It will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Sources

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Stress and Coping. cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html. Accessed March 18, 2020. 
  • National Institute of Health: How to Prepare. nih.gov/health-information/coronavirus. Accessed March 18, 2020.
  • World Health Organization. Helping children cope with stress during the 2019-nCoV outbreak. who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/helping-children-cope-with-stress-print.pdf?sfvrsn=f3a063ff_2. Accessed March 17, 2020.

The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs.