How to help young children and teenagers manage their worries?
Just like you, children and teenagers can have concerns about the pandemic and the events that are taking place. They can in fact be affected even more because they do not always understand the information they hear or see.
Reactions vary individually, so be attentive to their fears and need to be reassured, and let them use their own words to describe how they feel. Show them that you care. Listen to their worries and give them even more love and attention. If possible, provide opportunities for them to play and relax.
Signs of your child’s stress
Signs of your teenager’s stress
• Trouble sleeping • Wants to be held, asks questions • Physical pain such as tummy ache • Agitated behaviour, disputing what you say or do What to do? • Keep control of your emotions. For example, you might go into the bathroom by yourself to calm down • Teach your child basic personal hygiene, such as how to wash hands properly • Reassure and spend more time with your child • Have your child take part in household preventive tasks • Maintain your usual habits and schedules or create new ones for safe play and relaxation
• Worries about personal health and the health of close friends and family • Feels unaffected by the situation or laughs off the danger • No longer interested in preferred activities • Has trouble sleeping, appetite issues (eats too much or not enough) • Wants to drink alcohol and/or take drugs • Is aggressive, irritable, refuses to obey public health instructions What to do? • Ensure that your teenager really understands the situation. Correct any information that is wrong • Do not minimize the seriousness of the situation • Avoid moralizing • If you are uncertain about how to respond, say so. Provide serious answers as soon as you can or suggest calling a telephone support hotline
Other ways to better manage your stress or anxiety as a family While obtaining the right information is important, put limits on time spent seeking information about COVID-19. Information overload can raise the stress level, making you more anxious or even depressed. Use the information you already have to plan what comes next. Set aside specific times for updates once or twice a day. Avoid sources of sensationalist news and doubtful information. This will help separate fact from rumour. Concentrate on facts to help allay your concerns. Use reliable resources like the Government of Québec official Québec.ca/coronavirus website.
Managing time at home or when teleworking
Resources for better management of family time: • alloprof.qc.ca (French) • teteamodeler.com (also has ideas for crafts, cooking, nursery rhymes, etc.) [French] • viedeparents.ca (French) • vifamagazine.ca (French) Telephone hotlines for people in psychological distress: • Regroupement des services d’intervention de crise du Québec: centredecrise.ca/listecentres (French) offers services 24/7 for persons in distress • Tel-Aide listening centre provides help 24/7 to people suffering from solitude, distress or who need to have someone listen: 514-935-1101 • Écoute entraide is a community organization that supports people who are emotionally suffering: 514-278-2130 or 1-855-EN LIGNE • Telephone assistance service 1-866-APPELLE (277-3553)
For stress, anxiety or depression about the progression of the current epidemic in Québec, call Services Québec at 418-644-4545, 514-644-4545, 450-644-4545, 819-644-4545 or toll free at 1-877-644-4545. The person that answers your call will provide more information and you will be directed to a psychosocial professional who can provide the additional support and advice you need. Deaf or hard-of-hearing persons call toll free at 1-800-361-9596. Resources for better management of worry: • Living better with your child: inspq.qc.ca/en/tiny-tot • ecolebranchee.com (video that explains COVID-19 to children and why schools are closed, how vaccine is made, etc.) [French] • carrefour-education.qc.ca (French)
• Set aside some time each day for family activities. Play board games, read out loud, go for a walk applying distancing measures, etc. • Speak with your workmates by phone or chat at nap time • Suggest your children work just like you by drawing, reading or doing educational activities • Invite the older children to supervise the younger ones when they play • Ensure that each parent gives time to the children
Québec.ca / coronavirus 1-877-644-4545
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