Children - Coping with Stress and Anxiety During COVID-19

06 Oct 2020 1:20 PM | IAMHP Support (Administrator)

The pandemic has upended every aspect of life in the United States and continues to sow a deep uncertainty into life. 

This loss of control and predictability can understandably result in stress and anxiety. 

Adults have the ability to recognize and express anxiety, but children tend to not have the tools or language to understand or communicate anxiety. 

New school years, communicating with friends and changing your routine can be exciting but stressful during ideal conditions, let alone during a global pandemic.  In light of COVID-19, children are facing additional stress related to back-to-school, fall sports, or lack thereof, and many new routines.

Managing the stress and anxiety of so much change looks different for each child within each family. However, it is important to start conversations to ensure we are supporting children’s mental health during COVID-19.

Parents can actively help kids and adolescents manage stress by:

Paying attention

  • Notice the language your children use, activity changes, and behavior when playing. Young children may express their feelings of stress during play time when they feel free to be. 

Being available

  • Pay attention to when your children are most likely to engage in a conversation. Sometimes, this can be during long car rides, after dinner or before bed. It might not be the ideal time for your schedule but make availability for them when they are ready to start a conversation to let them know you care about changes in their life.

Listening actively

  • It is important for children to feel heard. Let kids complete their point before you respond and make sure you aren’t multi-tasking with chores or on your phone. 

Responding thoughtfully

  • Remember, children don’t always have the language for stress or anxiety. Focus on the children’s feelings rather than your own, and when expressing your opinion do so without minimizing theirs or appearing angry or judgmental. 


  • Model the behavior you want children to follow in how they manage anger, solve problems and work through difficult feelings. Kids learn by watching their parents.

Call your child’s or adolescent’s health care provider if stress begins to interfere with their daily activities for several days in a row.

Find additional helpful information about kids and stress by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Helping Children Cope webpage at

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