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Your family may feel increased stress and anxiety due to upsetting events, such as a natural disaster, divorce, a death in the family, social unrest or the changes from the COVID-19 public health emergency. Children and teens react, in part, to what they see from the adults around them. If you can manage your own worry or fear, you can be calmer and more reassuring when you speak to your children.

What Does Stress Look Like for a Child?

Watch for the following behaviors:

  • Excessive crying or irritation (especially in younger children)
  • Excessive worry or sadness
  • Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
  • Irritability and “acting out” (especially in teens)
  • Difficulty with attention and concentration

How Do I Help?

Help support your child by:

  • Answering questions and sharing facts in a way he or she can understand
  • Building or maintaining a regular routine for your child
  • Keeping your child connected to his or her social networks, like friends, grandparents and coaches
  • Limiting your family’s exposure to upsetting news coverage
  • Spending time with your child in meaningful activities: reading together, exercising, playing games