Children's Hospital Colorado

How to Calm Your Child’s Coronavirus Anxiety

A child washes dishes with his mom

Most parents are appropriately concerned with keeping their families safe from the new coronavirus (COVID-19) and preventing its spread. But there is another aspect of this crisis that you should not ignore — its effect on your family’s mental health.

Grim news reports, the scary reality of the virus, and changes in routine – including an unusual return to school – are just a few reasons you and your children may be feeling heightened stress and anxiety during this time. It’s a very natural reaction to an unnatural situation. What matters most is how you react to and manage these feelings.

Below, experts in Children’s Hospital Colorado’s Pediatric Mental Health Institute offer some tips to help you and your kids cope with COVID-19-related anxiety in a healthy way.

How to help children and teens cope with coronavirus anxiety

Your kids may have questions about the coronavirus or feel unsettled by the deviation from their routine. This may be particularly challenging for kids who have experienced significant changes to schooling, daycare, team sports, summer vacation, visits with extended family and other social activities. Here are ways to make this time more manageable.

Back to school stress

This season can be stressful on kids and families in “normal” times, let alone now. Dr. Hawks emphasizes that the overwhelming majority of kids going back to school will be just fine; after all, kids are incredibly resilient. The following tips will help you support your child whether they’re taking the changes in stride or may be struggling.

Getting help

Times are tough, and the stress and anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have been prolonged. On top of it all, many of the coping strategies we normally turn to – like visiting with friends – have shifted drastically.

There is no shame in asking for help, for you or your child. We recommend the following mental health resources if you need further help:

If you need urgent help for your child

Parents, caregivers or friends who are worried about young adults, adolescents or even younger children should check in on them and ask how they’re doing. Asking about depression, mental health or suicide does not create or intensify the problem.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, do not delay. Call 911 or contact the following organizations for immediate support and counseling for yourself or a loved one. (Calls are free, confidential and available 24/7.)

In Colorado

Nationwide

Additional coronavirus resources

From answers to parents' top questions to important phone numbers to know, we've gathered the coronavirus information you might need during this time and put it all in one place.


Just Ask Children's Newsletter