Your child’s stress and anxiety might show up as behavior problems or mental health needs. You might see it in their expressions, feel it in their bodies or hear it in their words. And they look to you for help and answers. Our pages on Finding Mental Health Resources (services and help) and Mental Health Crises have important information if your child needs more help than you can give them.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked parents to share their tips on supporting their children’s mental health during this and other difficult times. And we asked how they try to help their children have less stress and anxiety at home. Below are some of the small, everyday solutions that parents use to lift their children’s moods. For more ideas, see the Child Mind Institute’s Tips for Calming Anxious Kids.
“I give my son time to talk and talk about his favorite topic. I sit and listen so that he can get out pent up stress.”
“My daughter has written and illustrated two stories and has storytime on Facebook. She loves hearing all the feedback.”
“We FaceTime with family in other states, connect. She shows off our dog—or a special toy.”
“Where possible, we have been switching doctor’s appointments to telemedicine or phone calls. This relieves my child’s anxiety about being around sick people, but we still talk to our doctors.”
“I pick my battles with my son. I know he’s having a hard time or sometimes doesn’t feel like doing something. We use little prizes to encourage cooperation.”
“We still have our daughter do her chores. Stick to that routine. She is collecting and taking out the trash and putting bins back in the garage. Separating her dirty clothes and doing laundry. Making her bed and helping in the kitchen. We are rewarding completed tasks and positive behavior.”
Our article on positive behavior supports explains more about one way to guide children’s behavior.
“We take long walks, taking pictures along the way and texting them to family and friends.”
“Here are a few of the fun things we have done. We went on a bear hunt in the neighborhood and found 13 bears, one sloth and one unicorn stuffed animals! We made an obstacle course on the sidewalk with chalk.”
“We have mini dance parties. Just move our bodies any which way. We all feel better after.”
After making the difficult decision to medicate your child, with time and on occasions, old symptoms return or new ones appear. Once again, you’re faced with what felt like an already-made decision - to medicate higher or more, or not.