Keeping up kids' mental health during coronavirus

It can be a scary time for children. It’s OK—and healthy—to acknowledge that.

Last week in Chicago, a 14-year-old made a list of family members he thought were likely to live and those likely to die. In Cincinnati, a six-year-old worried that if he couldn’t celebrate his birthday with his friends, he wouldn’t get any older. Meanwhile, my three-year-old daughter has had more bathroom accidents in the past few days than she previously had so far this year.

The physical symptoms of the novel coronavirus are well documented. The mental health effects, less so. And though children are less likely to become ill, we’re only starting to understand what the pandemic might mean for children’s mental health and emotional well-being.

It’s a lot for a kid to process. There’s the disruption of normal activities, the sudden split from friends, and, of course, fear of the virus itself. These difficulties are compounded for children who rely on school meals, or whose family members are sickened or facing sudden unemployment.

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