FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) — A local psychologist says he’s seeing adult patients who are anxious about their children going to school and then bringing the coronavirus home with them.
Going back to school can always cause a bit of angst for parents, but this year with the coronavirus, some of them are experiencing full-blown anxiety.
“Parents have lots of concerns that they’re going to get infected,” psychologist Dr. Stephen Ross says.
Dr. Ross says he’s seeing lots of patients who are concerned their kids are going to school during the pandemic.
“Their concern is that the’re going to bring it home, bring the virus home to them. And if they have and older parent or an ill parent in the home, that parent’s going to be exposed,” he says.
If that sounds like the thoughts you’re having, Ross recommends you stay off social media.
“Stay off message boards or places where people are posting their experiences with it. I think we need to be informed, we need to watch the news, right? But we need to do it in healthy doses,” he says.
He says no matter what, you should not discuss your apprehension about COVID-19 at the dinner table or elsewhere in front of your kids.
“We don’t want to induce anxiety in children who are already prone to anxiety or who are not adept at handling anxiety. First graders are not adept at handling anxiety,” Ross says.
He says your children won’t necessarily be able to articulate what they’re feeling about the coronavirus, so he says to look for signs that are out of the ordinary like a change in appetite, or a child losing sleep, or control of a bladder or bowels
“Kids can sense in parents anxiety, and they can’t always articulate. So what do they do? Physically they show it. They lose bladder control or they might wet the bed at night,” he says.
You can reassure your kids that adults are doing their best to protect them by keeping spaces clean and reminding them to wear their masks and wash their hands.
Ross says if your worries about the coronavirus are interfering with your functioning — your sleep, your eating, your daily routine — you should seek out a mental health professional.
Dr. Ross does say that a bit of healthy anxiety about COVID-19 can be a good thing if it prompts you to wash your hands, wear a mask, and remain physically apart from other people.