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Family First: How to talk with your children about stressors in COVID-19 world

CCMC Pediatric Psychologist Brad Jerson weighs in on how to support kids through virtual learning and difference in extracurricular activities.

HARTFORD, Conn. — How important is it for parents to take care of their own mental health right now and just resetting expectations to focus on what’s important to their own family?

You’ve probably heard the analogy, “when the plane takes on a change in cabin pressure and the oxygen mask drops, you’ve gotta put the mask on yourself first so that you can optimally help others.”

CCMC Pediatric Psychologist Brad Jerson said “it’s a perfect adage for this world that’s correct.

During these past months, we’ve seen a spike and kids are dealing with anxiety and depression and an increase in the severity of their symptoms

The CCMC psychologist recognizes that the daily stress of parenting, combined with a new COVID-19 world, has been….well, a lot, for kids.

Think about your pressures as a parent. Worries about your health, your job, your family.

Often it’s being projected onto your kids – who have a front-row seat to your troubles. Add to that the big changes in their routine – virtual learning and changes in ways to be with friends.

“The grief and loss they’ve felt in the loss of their routine and the stressors that their family has been feeling – financial, medical stressors – and the overall flow of their life have made it an overwhelming place for families,” Jerson said.

One of the things we tell to notice that if things are different than normal for kids, which is tricky because so many things have been different than normal for most families.

How do you delicately broach the topic with kids?

Allow the kids the opportunity to talk and give them the permission to feel the feels they’re having. When they’re communicating, it’s okay to let your kids know that you’re not a superhero, and you are stressing too.