Reducing Viral Anxiety in Children

How is the coronavirus panic affecting your children? Between the adult populations freaking out across the planet, and the youthfully distorted stories classmates share with your kids, you better check on the emotional well-being of your offspring.

I live in Connecticut, and the schools were just closed state-wide. That could very well mean:

  • no graduation for seniors
  • no help with college essay writing
  • no college tours
  • no proms
  • no spring sports for scholarship hopefuls
  • no dating
  • after working hard all year, no AP Exams and no AP credit
  • living in fear for the next several months
  • no hunting for summer jobs
  • no yearbook

These issues may seem trivial in light of:

  • parents trying to provide care and supervision for kids while at work
  • the stock market fluctuating
  • people not being allowed to work/draw paychecks
  • worries about receiving food and supplies

However, school issues are very real concerns for your high schoolers. The best thing you can do is to help them talk about the things that are freaking them out. Try saying this:

  • “What have you heard from your friends about the virus?”
  • “Does any of this virus talk make your friends nervous?”
  • “This is not the Zombie Apocalypse. It’s a fever and cough. We are exposed to viruses all the time. Sometimes we catch a cold, and sometimes we don’t. There’s no need to panic over a week in bed.”

Once you’ve cleared the air about their hidden health concerns, talk to them about making an academic plan, and a workout schedule for their sports:

  • “Let’s talk about how we’re going to move forward if school is closed for 30 days. Then we’ll make a plan for it being closed for 60 days. We can even discuss how to handle it if school doesn’t reopen this school year.”
  • “Exercise boosts the immune system. Let’s look up a workout specific to your sport so that when things resume, you’ll be ready.”

Encourage them to voice their frustrations at being isolated from their friends and social life. Find creative ways for them to stay connected until things calm down.

Lastly, you’re about to become a homeschooler. In my newsletter, I’ll share some online academic resources you can access.

Hang in there. This, too, shall pass.

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