Children are reacting in many ways as they hear and see the effects of the Coronavirus. Here are a few of the many different reactions:
- Calm and living life normal with small behavioral issues
- Anxious and wanting to be around a parent/caregiver(s)
- Irritable and oppositional
- Hyper and can’t sit still
The reasons behind these behaviors can be different for each child but there are some commonalities.
First, the child is acting normal because they have adjusted or normalized to change. He or she may feel like it is an early spring break. But as the changes become more permanent behaviors can change.
Second, the variations in behavior can be contributed to the difficulty to change. The child is going through many changes with school closings, no graduations, parents becoming teachers, not seeing friends or family members, and many other changes. These are not only a change in routine but also loss and grief.
Third, the child is sensing fear and having a fight or flight response. The child’s response is trying to protect themselves even if the real danger is low in their home. As parents and caregivers, we need to have our children speak their feelings and allow them to feel that they can have power over their feelings.
If the behaviors increase to the point where the child is not his or herself for a period of days, seek professional health from a counselor. Many are available by telehealth.
One of our members, Britain Dunaway, wrote this article to help us think through our children’s thoughts and behaviors during this time. You can visit Britain’s professional Facebook page by searching for "Brit Dunaway LCPC" or call his office at (309) 648-0782.
Britain Dunaway is a Northwoods' attender and licensed clinical professional counselor who graduated with a Master’s in Counseling from Lincoln Christian University. Since 2008, Brit has been teaming up with families, young adults, teens, and children over age 5 to help them effectively navigate very difficult issues. As a father of three children, he understands and empathizes with the daily struggles families encounter.