COVID-19 Resources For Families

On this page you’ll find resources on the following topics to assist in coping with the pandemic

Well-Being & Mental Health of Children & Families

Identifying Depression and Anxiety in Children by Dr. Alessandra Chiesa

Rates of depression and anxiety have risen in children during the pandemic. Common signs of both include:

  • Extended periods of anger, sadness, excessive worry lasting more than a few days. (some sadness and worry is to be expected)
  • Notable changes in behaviors such as eating, sleeping, or other routine activities
  • Increase in use of alcohol, cigarettes or other substances

If concerned, in addition to speaking directly with the child, contact family physicians, teachers or helplines.

Managing Holiday Stress with tips from Dr. Alessandra Chiesa

Changes in routines can add to already disrupted patterns. Helpful tips include

  • Adhering to schedules of eating and sleeping as much as is possible
  • Discuss in advance planned upcoming activities
  • Create new traditions to replace ones from the past

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Preschool & Elementary School

Helping Preschoolers and Elementary Age Children During the Pandemic by Dr. Alessandra Chiesa

  • Plan ahead for 15-minute segments during which screens are off.
  • Engage children in chores
  • Find other activities for children to participate
  • Consider what types of physical activities you can participate in with your children

Tips For Helping Younger Kids with Online Schooling by Dr. Alessandra Chiesa

  • Structure is important to children
  • It is difficult for children to sit still for long periods of time.
  • Building in active breaks or “brain” breaks are important.

Sharing time with Kids, Engaging Younger Children by Dr. Alessandra Chiesa

Often when an older child is involved in school, younger children become more demanding of time and attention.

  • Allocate special time for each child
  • Let the child know in advance when that will occur
  • Have the child participate in deciding how they want to spend their time with you

Common School Issues During COVID-19 by Dr. Alessandra Chiesa

  • Structure time away from electronics
  • Balance screen time in school with non-screen time away from school
  • Engage children in problem solving of how to address common concerns

Managing Resistance and Stress in Kids by Dr. Alessandra Chiesa

Much resistance and stress arise out of children not knowing how to identify or express their feelings and what is bothering them.

  • Allow children to express their thoughts and feelings without trying to “solve” it.
  • Work towards identifying what is causing children’s behaviors rather than reacting to how they are expressing their fear, frustration, anger or other emotions.

Dealing with Social Isolation by Dr. Alessandra Chiesa

Social isolation can be particularly difficult for children that are extroverted and outgoing.

  • Acknowledge the difficulty of the situation
  • Allow children to express their emotions
  • Look for ways for children to interact with their friends in a safe manner such as video chats, meeting outside with masks and safe distancing.

Additional Resources

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Preteens & Teens

Tips for Managing Media & Electronics for Teens from Dr. Alessandra Chiesa

Electronics seem to “just show up” and over run our lives. It is important to establish agreements in advance regarding not only how, but when electronics will be used.

  • Choose predetermined times, such as during meals when all electronics are turned off
  • Set the examples for your children

Balancing Social and Mental Health Needs of Teens from Dr. Alessandra Chiesa

As children age, social needs become more important to most teens than engaging with family. However, safety and following structure is equally important. Though difficult, it is important to develop agreements with children regarding what rules need to be followed for their physical safety.

  • Both pre-teens and teens are old enough to understand the rationale for following certain safety precautions
  • Allow the children to participate in deciding what rules and agreements will be followed.
  • When engaging in difficult conversations, practice in advance what you want to say.
  • Be clear on what is most important to you as a parent when it comes to teens

Additional Resources

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Managing Stress For Parents

Parents’ Self-Care by Dr. Alessandra Chiesa

While it is easy to become absorbed in the stress of managing a household during the pandemic, it is important to engage in purposeful activities, no matter how brief, to take care of one’s health and emotional well-being.

We also need to find a way to give ourselves grace and the space to make mistakes and recognize that there are no instructions for how to get through these times.

  • Grandparents can pay a tremendous role in assisting children and relieving parents
  • There are more online resources than ever before for therapy, engagement in positive supportive social interactions, and other resources to help maintain balance

Additional Resources

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Older Adults

Challenges of Seniors Living Alone During COVID-19: Tips for Decreasing Social Isolation by Dr. Michael Brickey

During these times with COVID-19 Seniors are often staying at home, they are reluctant to drive, have visitors, or are in nursing homes with more restrictions. This can lead to less exercise and also an increase in depression. A few tips to help with decreasing the social isolation:

  • Encourage them to not watch the news as often. Suggest other channels or reading
  • Have them use exercise equipment or a fitness routine, you can call and do the routine with them.

Using Food to Enhance the Quality of life for Seniors by Dr. Michael Brickey

Food can be a great way to increase the quality of life of Seniors living in nursing homes. Sending care packages can bring joy and provide variety to their diet. Some ideas include:

  • Snacks/favorite drinks (a few cans of Diet Soda, etc)
  • Already prepared foods like pizza, etc.
  • Groceries that they don’t have access to at the home

Additional Tips to Reduce Social Isolation in Seniors by Dr. Michael Brickey

There are some easy ways that you can help reduce social isolation for Seniors living alone. These suggestions don’t require a lot of time but can have a huge impact on their quality of life.

  • Send handwritten notes, cards, photos, drawings from kids, etc.
  • Make weekly positive phone calls
  • Set a weekly goal together such as learning a new Bible verse, or quotation.

Additional Resources

Full Length Video Resources

To see the full Back to School Amid COVID-19: Tips for the Emotional Well-Being of your Family video with clinical child psychologist, Dr. Alessandra Chiesa click HERE

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