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Your Healthy Family: In the era of COVID and back to school time, communicating with your kids is key

Posted at 4:53 PM, Aug 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-25 18:53:27-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Whether your child has been back in school this year for a few days or a few weeks, how's it going for them? Remember, if they are feeling some anxiety around all the COVID policies in place, it's pretty normal. And for parents, the signs our kids are struggling might not be obvious.

Lynnay Carona, a licensed clinical social worker with UCHealth Primary Care – Fontanero, says that in general, kids may not be as stressed out about all of this as much as their parents. “What I see is actually that kids are a lot more resilient than their parents. They tend to roll with change much more easily than adults do, and that is not to discount what the adults are experiencing and their concerns. But, kids do tend to be able to manage change more effectively than adults when we get stuck in our ways.”

Most of the time, if children are anxious or depressed, Lynnay says they won't show it in ways you would expect - like moping around if they are feeling sad or showing nervous energy or fidgeting if they are anxious. “A lot of times there will be irritability and lashing out in circumstances where they normally wouldn't. There may be some withdrawal or you may see some resistance to going to school with no specific reason. Those are all pretty common signs of anxiety in kids.”

If you have noticed a change in your kids' behavior along those lines, talk with them about what’s going on. “You want to check in and say, ‘What is going on?’ You want to use open-ended questions instead of yes or no questions, because we know kids will give us those yes or no answers. What you want is to open dialogue with them so you can verify what you think is going on. You might say, ‘You seem a little upset.’ Or, ‘You seem irritable, what's going on, tell me how you're feeling or what you're thinking about,’ Start with listening as opposed to starting with talking.”

Finally, Lynnay says if the answers you get from that communication with your child need to be addressed immediately, you can contact the Colorado Crisis Line for free, anytime. You can visit the Crisis Line’s webpage, (HERE [coloradocrisisservices.org]) https://coloradocrisisservices.org/ [coloradocrisisservices.org]

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