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Helping children cope with coronavirus anxiety

Local 5 is On Your Side, as a pediatrician shares tips on keeping kids calm during a stressful time.

DES MOINES, Iowa — As the number of cases of COVID-19 continue to grow in Iowa and around the world, so too are fears about the virus' impact on everyday lives. 

Here at Local 5, our commitment to you is to give you the "Facts, not Fear" about the virus. 

Dr. Amy Shriver, a pediatrician with UnityPoint Health, doesn't advise keeping your kids in the dark about COVID-19.

"Kids are very aware of what's happening even at a very young age children pick up on these things," Shriver said.

Dr. Shriver said many school-aged kids and teenagers are very aware of COVID-19 through social media, and they're already talking to their peers about the pandemic. 

She offers tips to communicate with your children about the virus

  • Make sure you talk about COVID-19 in an age-appropriate and sensitive way.
  • Give kids control of the situation. "And that simply means giving them a job to do in response to the pandemic," Dr. Shriver said, "So, yes, we're going through something that's different than we've ever gone through before."

Dr. Shriver said there's one thing your child definitely needs, especially in turbulent times like this. 

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"I would recommend number one that that your child needs attention," Dr. Shriver said.

"Children need contact and affection. So, you know, being extra huggy to your child and, you know finding ways to connect with them on both a physical and emotional level."

She also said children need routines, and as parents, you should have the same things happen each day to help reassure children that things will be okay.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends frequent hand washing, avoiding close contact and staying home if you are sick as main areas of focus for prevention and containment of COVID-19. 

If you and your children are doing anything fun, please share your texts, photos and videos with us at 515-457-1026!

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