Children's Behavioral Responses
Most of us feel overwhelmed with the world right now. Many aspects of our lives are different and it feels like we're stuck in a bizarre dream. Children are also impacted by this pandemic.
They've been uprooted from the structure and routine of their daily lives, with no warning or chance to say goodbye. We are expecting them to adjust to a whole new learning environment, which can be a lot to process and doesn't feel 'normal' to them. They are expected to adjust to changing roles at home: parents/grandparents are now acting as teachers and siblings are sometimes left to act as parents when parents are working.
Add to that the frustration of hearing "I don't know" as the answer to many questions they have. We don't know when they will return to a school they love...we don't know when they'll see their teacher or friends in person again...we don't know yet if our summer vacation plans can still be enjoyed...we don't know when they'll get to play sports again...we don't know when they can visit grandma and grandpa again....we don't know when they can have another sleepover. All of this uncertainty is unsettling for adults and children alike.
Beyond all of that adjustment and frustration, I suspect people are dealing with the complex emotions of grief as well. Grief for a school year uprooted, grief for missing classmates and routine, grief that nothing seems 'the same' anymore. And foremost, grief for those lost to death. Grief is such a tricky experience...filled with different and complex emotions. Grief is hard for us to process through as adults, and it's certainly hard for little one's who haven't had the same variety of experiences that we have
All of this change and uncertainty, coupled with the fact that most children are not equipped with the insight and verbal ability to express their emotions, can lead to behavior changes and challenges. Remember, children tend to show us how they feel through their behavior.
The chart below shows behavioral reactions by age level, along with ideas for parents to support children at that age. If your child's behavior is concerning you or you aren't sure how to handle it, I am happy to chat with you about ideas. Feel free to call me at 717.885.1238.
Help with Food and Basic Necessities
Use this link to the Impact Foundation COVID-19 page where you can learn about how to get help with food and basic household necessities.
Mental Health and Community Resources
PA Mental Health Support Line: 1-855-284-2494 (TTY: 724-631-5600)
York County Crisis Intervention: York Hospital (717) 851-5320 or 1-800-673-2496
- Wellspan/Philhaven 717-632-4900
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio: 1-888-628-9454
Crisis Text Line: Text “PA” to 741-741
Veteran Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990
Get Help Now Hotline (for substance use disorders): 1-800-662-4357
Pennsylvania Sexual Assault Helpline – 1-888-772-7227
National Domestic Violence Helpline – 1-800-799-7233
Childline (for suspected child abuse/neglect) - 1-800-932-0313
MH/MR - 1-717-741-9618
Olivia’s House (for grieving children and families) - 1-717-699-1133
FIRST (free information and referral system) - 1-717-755-1000
York Food Bank - 717-846-6435
Previously Supplied Resources
Helping Kids Who are Worried About Coronavirus by Counselor Keri
Ready for Anything by Keiko Kasza
When I'm Feeling Disappointed by Trace Moroney
I'm Bored by Michael Ian Black
When I feel sad **turn off volume and read this one to your child**
Care for Your Coronavirus Anxiety - Shine, Inc
Supporting Families During COVID19 - Child Mind Institute
COVID-19 Well Being Toolkit and Resources - Center for Healthy Minds
PBS: How to Talk to Your Kids About Coronavirus - Ideas for talking to your children and links to relevant clips from Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Sesame Street, Curious George and Super Why.
Time to Come in, Bear - Kidshealth.org offers this short video to help young children understand social distancing.