Our children feel COVID-19 stress, too

Advice for parents helping kids cope with

The holidays can be a stressful time of year for many, but the fatigue of living amid the COVID-19 pandemic can make it even more difficult.

Dr. Theresa Thweatt Rulien, CEO of the Child Guidance Center, said children feel the stress as much as adults.

“It wears us out,” Rulien said. “All of us as adults are recognizing that as we try to get through our daily routines of getting up, getting ready for work, for school, getting our kids ready so we know how much it is wearing us out. Think about that in a child’s mind. It’s exhausting after a while and with no end in sight. That becomes very disconcerting.”

Rulien said children look to adults for stability and guidance. Going through the holidays amid COVID-19 concerns and restrictions, she said consistency is key.

“Whether it be getting up for breakfast or bedtime routines, bath time routines, story routines, homework routines, anything like that can continue to keep things as consistent, as normal as possible,” said said.

In addition, Rulien said it’s important to embrace that this year will be different and practice being grateful, recognize that time is more important than material things and create experiences, like hide-and-seek in the backyard.

“This isn’t the year to be disappointed about not getting everything that we wanted on our Christmas list but to really look at what creates calmness, peace and happiness,” Rulien said. “It’s the year to celebrate and to surround ourselves with people that bring joy in our lives, not those that are going to bring us down.”

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