CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - For many, it was a summer without the usual perks of the season, and that disappointment followed a school year that had been cut short by the coronavirus.
And now the start of another school year is being torn apart by the pandemic and the result is that a lot of our kids are suffering from stress and anxiety, according to Dr. David Miller the medical director of Pediactric Integrative Medicine at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Miller says parents should be watching for a change in their kids sleeping and eating patterns, watching for signs of obsessive behavior or a child that is suddenly showing more emotion than normal, or a child that is withdrawing from social activities.
“Any of those things could be indicators that they’re really trying to process this and they’ve reached sort of a roadblock and they need some assistance,” Dr. Miller said.
Dr. Miller says the stress and anxiety of the pandemic and the start of another school year is affecting kids of every age right through high school students.
It’s best, Dr. Miller says, to try and have age appropriate conversations with your kids.
“Kids get more stressed when they feel like something is hidden,” Dr. Miller said. “I think they get more stressed when parents try to downplay the significance of the situation.”
And it is critical that we set a good example as we deal with our own stress.
“So how we manage ourselves, how we manage our own stress has a powerful impact on how the kids are managing this situation as well,” Dr, Miller said.
And while structure and predictability are important for kids, if the stress and anxiety can be managed, the uncertainty of these times may actually be a chance to teach some life skills.
“We need to be cultivating sort of a mentality of flexibility, adaptability and resilience, that we’re going to have to go with the flow on this one and do the best we can,” Dr. Miller said.
Dr. Miller says that school-aged children may be feeling stress due to the confusion of the situation, and that teenagers may be stressed simply because they have become annoyed with the pandemic.