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Updated: Mar 8, 2022

By Jennifer Ngulube MBE

Events that have been happening the past few months have been unsettling and disruptive to our daily lives. The uncertainty of the situation with the CORONA-virus has aroused fear and anxiety in many of us and likely our children too. The way children respond to stress can look different from adults and is dependent on many factors including a child's temperament, available coping skills, and life experiences. Children can also respond differently depending on their stage of development. Young children may become more cranky, throw tantrums, cry for or cling to their parents or even return to behaviors they previously outgrew, such as thumb sucking or bed-wetting. Older children may shut down, become moodier, have difficulty concentrating, and become argumentative or increasingly defiant.

If you have noticed these behaviors in your children over the past few weeks or days this could be a sign that they are experiencing an increase in stress, fear, or anxiety-like many of us are. The biggest influence on a child during times of increased stress or uncertainty is the behavior they see modeled by adults around them. When children see their parents or caregivers responding calmly and confidently it helps them feel safe and reassured.

Some ideas to help you take care of yourself and your kids.

Be a strong role model for your children and support your family through this challenging time.

  • Communicate -Let them know the facts about what is going on

  • Talk to them about feelings- lt is important to talk to your children about how they are coping emotionally.

  • Take care of your mind and body. Taking care of yourself will allow you to better care for your family.

The good news is that kids are resilient. Even if they are showing signs of distress now children will fully recover from times of stress on their own. By taking care of yourself you will be modeling and teaching them healthy ways to cope and overcome challenging times now and in the future.

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