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Raising resilient kids during the pandemic

Published: Mar. 19, 2021 at 10:38 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - After more than a year, the COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a real blow to all of our lives, but in particular kids.

16-year old Emeron Christensen, a high school junior, says the worst impact has been on his social life.

“You know I miss seeing all my family and all friends,” said Emeron.

His little sister Cyndi is a fifth-grader. She said distance learning was a real fail.

“First we were online then we went back to school and we were online again back to school again,” said Cyndi. “It was just crazy.”

Add the constant threat of illness and the siblings said it’s just depressing.

“It’s just hard to stay positive,” said Cyndi.

“It’s ok for kids to be kids,” said Dr. Mike Vance.

Dr. Vance is the Director of Children’s Behavioral health at Omaha Children’s Hospital and a Pediatric Psychologist. He said it’s normal for kids to feel uncomfortable now.

“That’s hard for any of us and that unpredictability is a great anxiety producer it’s a big contributor to anxiety,” said Vance.

He said now is the time for parents to focus on building resilience.

“Resilience is taught a lot through helping kids develop through competence and confidence,” said Vance.

He said to help with anxiety, focus attention on the present and not the future.

“What do we get to do today, what’s special about today, and if there’s something you get to do tomorrow,” said Vance. “Take it in small blocks, where you know you can control the outcome, and don’t apologize if you can’t do something. You don’t have to apologize for keeping them or your family safe.”

Vance also said kids will get mixed messages from society, it’s why parents must keep theirs clear and consistent, but keep in mind it’s not necessary to explain the why.

“Kids don’t need the why, you’re their parent,” said Vance. “What’s important now is the rule and not the reason.”

It’s important to keep kids busy. Vance said activities are best when they incorporate routines.

“Having structure is important for kids, but in particular the younger ones, because those are their anchors,” said Vance.

The Christensen’s agree keeping busy help, their family activity is karate. Emeron is not only is a black belt, he also teaches.

“It’s good to keep busy before you know it your day is gone,” said Emeron.

“In karate, I don’t focus on COVID I just focus on karate stuff, said Cyndi.

Mom, Lisa is also in martial arts. She said the activity is great, but so is good communication.

“We spend a lot of time talking to them,” said Lisa. “Just helping them see they can do it. If they can make it through the day, they can learn and grow and it will be ok.”

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