Published on August 20, 2020

Tips for dealing with kids during a pandemic — or any time

Swick Tips COVID tips for kids

During the first days of the COVID-19 pandemic, we turned to Dr. Susan D. Swick for help navigating a challenging time with children and teens. Swick, the physician in chief of Ohana, our Center for Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health, sat down for a series of short videos on some big topics. While the videos were prompted by the pandemic, the guidance and tips Swick provides are timeless.

Talking with children about coronavirus (or anything scary) without scaring them

When faced with something scary, we all have questions and uncertainty. Swick identifies steps that take you through learning what your kids are thinking and maybe worrying about, exploring their concerns with them factually, and ways of providing reassurance.

Helping children manage strong emotions

Many situations, not just a pandemic, can evoke strong emotions in kids. Before helping your kids try to manage theirs, be sure to take care of your own emotions first. Do something to recharge your battery before you go on the frontlines with your kids. Swick elaborates on three steps: staying calm, naming and normalizing the issue, and then focusing on what’s in their control.

Managing tech time

The rules are looser during a pandemic, when we’re sheltering at home, away from friends, school, and normal activities. But, in general, the approach to managing tech time is the same: Think about what categories your kids are spending screen time on, and how much time is appropriate. Swick breaks it down into five categories — school, other kinds of learning, social time, exercise, and meaningless fun — and offers examples of each and guidance on how to determine what’s appropriate.

Click here for the latest on Ohana news and updates.

About the Author

Dr. Susan Swick

Susan Swick, MD, MPH is the executive director of Ohana, a center for child and adolescent behavioral health at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula... Read more.

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