What parents need to know as more kids experience anxiety, stress with pandemic

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Change can impact people in different ways, but it can be particularly difficult for children who rely on interactions and experiences to grow both mentally and emotionally.

Cammy Mincey knows just how important her children’s development is during this time, and that’s why she always finds time for her kids on her busy days.

“The week everything shut down my girls turned 1 and 3,” said Mincey, who has managed to work a full-time job and keep her kids busy. “You go in not only protecting them physically, but also emotionally, but also how are you going to make this fun and a learning environment.”

Dr. Erika Vivyan, a licensed psychologist with Austin Anxiety and OCD Specialists, has been extra busy since the pandemic started.

“Over the last year now we have seen a major increase in mental health concerns for kids and their parents,” Vivyan said.

The lack of social interactions and change of pace can impact kids negatively.

“We are seeing a huge uptick in social anxiety and managing the lack of social interaction and connection with friends,” Vivyan said.

What can parents do to help?

“Doing as many outdoor activities as possible and getting kids up and moving,” Vivyan said. “It is really critical for parents to recognize that this isn’t the new normal this isn’t a normal time, but we can make it as normal as possible.”

Mincey is doing just that, even though life as we know it has changed drastically during the pandemic.

“We have set up stations at our house and that is a strategy that we have adopted,” Mincey said. “So, we are outside most of the time because my kids just do better outside. I think most kids do. So, we are outside we are out exploring the trails.”

Vivyan says finding time for virtual meetings with friends and family you can’t meet with in person is also a great way for kids to stay engaged.

Mincey used her time working from home to set up an Instagram account that looks to inspire other working moms.

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