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April 27, 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19) has everyone unsettled, but parents should only share age-appropriate concerns with their children. Jennifer Katzenstein, Ph.D., director of psychology and neuropsychology at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, offers tips to manage your anxiety around your children.
Witnessing a parent in anxiety can unsettle kids, who look to parents for information and guidance on how to respond to situations. If we respond in an anxious, fearful state, then our children are likely to feel unsafe and upset too. We must try to stay calm and not let our anxiety guide our behaviors.
Notice how your body feels when you are stressed. Our hearts race, our hands get sweaty, we may feel chest pain, and feel shaky. Take a few deep breaths. Identify your anxiety or other feelings, and rationalize the situation. Use calming language and try to maintain a calm demeanor. Try to avoid raising your voice.
It is OK to show our kids our emotions. It’s even better if you can explain why you reacted the way you did, and then outline steps you can take to change the way you managed the situation.
For more pediatric healthcare information, you can check out On Call for All Kids, a weekly series featuring Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital experts.
Visit HopkinsAllChildrens.org/Stories each Monday for the latest report.