Charlottesville psychologist weighs in on stress in children amidst COVID-19

Charlottesville pyschologist weighs in on stress in children amidst COVID-19
Updated: Mar. 17, 2020 at 6:45 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - As many children are home enjoying their extended spring break, parents may be dealing with frequent questions and concerns from their kids regarding the coronavirus.

Family psychologist Dr. Amanda Sovik-Johnston says in a time like this where everything feels chaotic, one of the most important things for children is to keep things as normal as possible by establishing a routine.

“I think it’s really important to get in academic time, exercise, outdoor time, family time, alone from family time, and also some social time where maybe you’re hanging out with your family," said Dr. Sovik-Johnston. “Face-to-face time is really really important right now.”

She also says parents can also try to avoid constant conversation about the virus and unplug for the majority to minimize anxiety.

“It’s really important to kind of put this worry in its place and kind of contain it. We as adults and parents really need to make sure we see our children’s worry but we don’t let it take over their lives,” added Dr. Sovik-Johnston. “So one of the things I’m having kids in my family do is we might have some time in the morning, where we’re going to talk about what’s happening with the coronavirus, some time in the afternoon, and then that’s it.”

Lastly, she suggests to advise children to wash their hands and practice healthy habits, but don’t overdo it to the point that it creates paranoia.

“I think we have to be careful that we’re not creating too much anxiety and I think we have to be careful that we’re also empowering them to do the important things for their bodies and for their community.”

Virginia Family Therapy in Charlottesville is going to start launching several Zoom video conferences to offer support for kids of all ages during this time of social isolation. It will also offer one for parents so they can hash out struggles and share solutions that have worked in their households.

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