"I believe dancing is the best stress reliever."
School is starting soon. Another school year living in the COVID-19 pandemic and life is going to get weird and possibly dangerous, especially now with the highly contagious Delta variant which targets kids.
As you know, there is no COVID vaccine – yet – for kids under 12 years of age. Our children are now among the most vulnerable to become infected and sick, some so sick they may be hospitalized, and some may die.
This pandemic and its impact on children and schools is a huge deal and getting worse due to the number of unvaccinated people. What we can do as parents, school teachers and administrators is work to ensure that kids have a delicious, healthy dinner with their family, down time in the evenings, at least an hour before bedtime without electronics, get a good night’s sleep. Be mindful that your kiddos may be stressed and keep an eye out for changes such as:
- unusual or new behaviors such as not engaging with family and friends,
- being withdrawn,
- spending more time alone,
- taking more risk-taking behaviors,
- talking back to a parent,
- lack of concentration or focus,
- avoiding sports,
- starting smoking or drinking alcohol, or
- talking about self-harm.
Our children are embarking on a new school year in the midst of a once-in-a-hundred years pandemic. They will experience stress. Some will need professional help. School teachers and counselors can help keep an eye on your kids. If you have a concern, talk with school staff. Seek out mental health resources in your school or community.
Stress contributes to overeating, anxiety, and sleep disturbances which can all be risk factors for childhood obesity.
With the constant news about the pandemic that kids are likely to hear, whether or not you know it because kids are little sponges, parents need to be on guard. We need to be hyper-vigilant for the sake of our children’s health –and their very lives.
Everyone has stress, right? You drive in traffic, you have stress. Kids have a test coming up, they have stress. What matters is our response to stress. Take extra good care of yourself so you can take extra good care of your children in this uncharted time.
With love and kindness,
Nancy Heinrich, MPH
Founder and Wellness Architect