Expert offers tips on how parents can help reduce anxiety in children amid COVID-19 pandemic

Coronavirus

HONOLULU, Hawaii (KHON2) – Anxiety from the COVID-19 pandemic is weighing heavily on the minds of many people.

Doctor Allana Coffee is a part of the Honolulu Psychology Collective. She says since the start of the pandemic, the mental health of children and parents have been affected due to these uncertain times.

Dr. Coffee says if parents can mindfully manage their stress, it will positively trickle down to their keiki.

“Us adults need to manage our stress and anxiety because it’s contagious and they catch it from us, said Dr. Allana Coffee, a clinical and educational psychologist. “So as much as we can manage our stress and anxiety that really helps our kids.”

Dr. Coffee also says, be slow to blame.

“There’s so much blame and that actually creates a lot of tension and anger and it doesn’t solve the problem, it actually further contributes to the children’s anxiety.”

Instead of minimizing reality, reassure your kids while talking to them about the pandemic.

“When we deny it, they lose a little bit of trust in us and they start to think that we’re out of touch or that we don’t know. So it actually creates further uncertainty. So validate, yes that is a scary thing, yes that is a real thing. Let’s talk about it as a family.”

The uncertainty of the upcoming school year can also take a toll on children’s mental health.

“We’re telling our parents to explain to their children to be patient while people are trying to figure it out. Nobody wants to rush them back and have them not be safe. Create fun activities in the home. This is our time to get outside, do some planting, some hiking, some walking, do those puzzles in the house. Try to maintain and create a light environment even though we’re stressed out.”

For more tips or guidance from Dr. Coffee, search the Honolulu Psychology Collective.

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