Tag: Mental Health

Managing Children Anxiety About COVID-19

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Posted on by Zoe Barnes

Managing children anxiety about Covid-19

As the international impact of the COVID-19 virus continues to increase, news about the virus dominates the media, and has entered family discussions and classroom conversations throughout our global communities. Parents and educators are sharing best-practice information on how to manage children’s anxiety about COVID-19.

While families grapple with changes to their daily work and school routines, an increasing number of children are feeling uncertain and anxious about the future. Similarly, many parents and educators may be left wondering how to best support the children in their lives around their anxiety. So, what can parents do in the face of  COVID-19 worries?

Top Tips for Parents to help manage children anxiety about COVID-19

The exact information you provide your child about the Coronavirus is dependent upon their age, and your family’s experiences. However, some general tips to support your children include:

  • Offer alternatives to speaking. Some children may find it difficult to articulate how they are feeling. Play-based activities such as ‘messy play’ (eg; slime, playdough, water-play) and art tasks (eg; drawing and painting) may help children express themselves and process how they are feeling. If you have any concerns, schedule a telephone or Zoom call with a psychologist at Quirky Kid.
  • Keep routines in place. Routines are essential for children to grow and develop typically. In the event of enforced changes to school and work routines, implement an adapted daily routine within your household (i.e. regular self-care, chores, homework). Include fun and stimulating activities, as permitted by health regulations. Some ideas include: baking, family games and outdoor play. Frame changes to routine in a positive way.
  • Recognise and manage your own feelings. Children are highly attuned to the responses and feelings of adults around them. Remain calm when speaking to your children and others about the virus, and model calm behaviour in implementing prevention efforts (including hygiene practices or other changes to routine). Ensure you identify any signs of trauma.
  • Find out what information your child already knows. For school aged children, gently ask what they have heard about the Coronavirus. Offer them an opportunity to discuss any concerns, and calmly correct any misconceptions they may have. To avoid unnecessary anxiety in young children, you may not wish to raise the topic with them directly. Instead, listen carefully for any worries they may raise, or references they make to the virus. Offer reassurance and calmly correct any false beliefs.
  • Provide children with the information they need to know.
    Be honest and accurate in the information you provide and answer any questions they may have. Do not dismiss any questions or concerns they raise. Inform your children calmly and reassuringly about any changes to hygiene practices or school and home routines, this will help in managing children anxiety about Covid-19. and prevent children from gathering inaccurate information elsewhere.
  • Make yourself available to spend quality time with your children. This helps to reinforce that they are safe and offers them ample opportunities to speak to you about how they are feeling.
  • Limit exposure to media. Non- age-appropriate information may increase anxiety and confusion, especially in young children.
  • Positively encourage hygiene practices. Prompt your children to engage in positive hygiene practices calmly and positively. Where possible, make it fun and enjoyable for your children (eg; timing hand washing routine to a popular song).

Seeking Support

If you would like further advice about how to support in managing children anxiety about Covid-19, or you are concerned about how your child is coping, it may be helpful to seek some professional support. Quirky Kid has well-established telehealth options to allow us to continue to provide services for our clients.  To schedule an appointment with a Quirky Kid Psychologist visit our website.

Quirky Kid has in place the following services to held Manage children anxiety about Covid-19:

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Please note: As the information and advice about COVID-19 are rapidly changing, some information contained in the article above may no longer be current.

References
Australian Psychological Society. (2020). Tips for Coping with Coronavirus Anxiety. (Retrieval date: 16th March 2020).

National Association of School Psychologists. (2020). Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource.
(Retrieval date: 16th March 2020).

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Healthy Kids @ Practical Parenting

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

Kimberley O’Brien, our principal child psychologist, discussed the ‘Golden rules for healthy kids’ with reporter Fran Molloy from Practical Parenting Magazine . Other very useful recommendations where presented by doctors ad health experts. You can find useful, practical and informative advice about parenting by visiting our resources page, – or discussing it on our forum.

According to Kimberley, parents should:

  • Try to make sure that ‘free time’ is family time, not screen time. Figure out some activities the whole family can do, such as cooking together, playing board games or backyard cricket
  • A regular family meal at a table, with no TV and everyone talking together is also really important. This can be breakfast if you have a baby or infant.
  • Help your child express her feelings. When she has a tantrum or gets really emotional, talk her through the event and untangle all the feelings she had and why she might have felt that way.
  • Help to reduce your child’s anxiety about an event by explaining what is going to happen beforehand.

Read the story at PP website.

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Golden Rules for Healthy Kids - Practical Parenting Magazine

MHPN @ North Bondi

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

Kimberley O’Brien, our Principal Child Psychologist and Jacqui Olsson our Intern Psychologist, facilitated the first North Bondi branch meeting of the Mental Health Professionals Network on Tuesday, 11th August 2009 at the Swiss Grand Hotel, Bondi Beach.

These meetings have been designed to foster greater collaboration by bringing together local mental health professionals from a range of disciplines, and the initial meeting was a great success. Attendees were from a variety of disciplines such as psychology, general practice, and naturopathy.

These meetings – and the networks they support and create –  offer informal networking opportunities and a forum to discuss interdisciplinary professional approaches to care in the primary mental health sector.

After complimentary drinks and dinner, attendees formed a group to discuss the case study of Sam, an eight-year-old boy with social anxiety issues. This case study enabled everyone to:

  • recognise the specific skills offered by other mental health professions in the local area;
  • identify local mental health referral pathways and resources;
  • identify opportunities for on-going professional development and mutual support.

The next meeting of the North Bondi MHPN branch is tentatively scheduled for eight weeks time.

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MHPN @ Double Bay

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

Kimberley O’Brien, our Principal Child Psychologist and Jacqui Olsson our Intern Psychologist, facilitated the first Double Bay branch meeting of the Mental Health Professionals Network on Wednesday, 29th July 2009 at Zest Waterfront Venues, Point Piper.

These meetings have been designed to foster greater collaboration by bringing together local mental health professionals from a range of disciplines, and the initial meeting was a great success. Attendees were from a variety of disciplines such as psychology, general practice, and nursing.

These meetings – and the networks they support and create –  offer informal networking opportunities and a forum to discuss interdisciplinary professional approaches to care in the primary mental health sector.

After complimentary drinks and dinner, attendees formed a group to discuss the case study of Sam, an eight-year-old boy with social anxiety issues. This case study enabled everyone to:

  • recognise the specific skills offered by other mental health professions in the local area;
  • identify local mental health referral pathways and resources;
  • identify opportunities for on-going professional development and mutual support.

The next meeting of the Double BayMHPN branch is tentatively scheduled for three months time.

Kimberley will be facilitating the first North Bondi MHPN meeting at 7pm on Tuesday 11th August 2009

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Mental Health Network

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

Kimberley O’Brien, our principal child psychologist and Jacqui Olsson our Intern Psychologist, facilitated the first Vaucluse branch meeting of the Mental Health Professionals Network on Wednesday, 8th July 2009 at the Watson’s Bay Hotel.

These meetings have been designed to foster greater collaboration by bringing together local mental health professionals from a range of disciplines, and the initial meeting was a great success. Attendees were from a variety of disciplines such as psychology, social work, pharmacy and general practice.

These meetings – and the networks they support and create –  offer informal networking opportunities and a forum to discuss interdisciplinary professional approaches to care in the primary mental health sector.

After complimentary drinks and dinner, attendees broke into small groups to discuss the case study of Sam, an eight year old boy with social anxiety issues. This case study enabled everyone to:

  • recognise the specific skills offered by other mental health professions in the local area;
  • identify local mental health referral pathways and resources;
  • identify opportunities for on-going professional development and mutual support.

The next meeting of the Vaucluse MHPN branch is tentatively scheduled for three months time.

Kimberley will be facilitating the first Double Bay MHPN meeting at 7pm on Wednesday, 29th July 2009.

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