BOSTON – A researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital specializing in child development has provided some thoughts on the state of children’s mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, and strategies for how parents can be supportive.
Dr. Jason Kahn said one of the best strategies for parents is to be open and honest with their children.
“Just be straightforward about the situation and talk about what they know and what they don’t know, and give their children a chance to ask questions because kids are trying to make sense of this,” said Kahn.
“Parents need to protect their sanity too. There is this idea of co-regulation and that means your child is going to take their cues from you as you process what going. I know a lot of parents are stressed, I am a parent too. There’s financial worries, and health worries, it’s a lot to take on. For parents finding those opportunities to protect their sanity is really going to do a lot for their children,” he said.
Kahn also said parents should expect to see some behavioral regression in grade school level children.
“It’s going to feel like the kids have gone backwards a little bit, the feelings are going to be a little more sensitive, they’re going to have shorter fuses, more crying, more outbursts, just a lower frustration tolerance across the board,” said Kahn.
“I have been in awe of the amount of parents who have stepped up at this time, it is not easy to be out there right now taking care of your kids and sorting out everything else you have in your life,” said Dr. Kahn.