How to Address Children’s Anxiety during Covid-19?

April 21, 2020

In mid-April, the Santiago Center hosted a webinar with tips for parents and other concerned adults looking to best help children deal psychologically with the crisis brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

During the session, held in Spanish, Pablo Goldberg - Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Medical Director of Pediatric Anxiety and Mood Research Clinic at the Columbia University Medical Center - held a conversation with Alex Behn, Research Director at the Millennial Institute for Depression and Personality Research (MIDAP). The two professionals had been previously acquainted during Goldberg’s master class “How to Diagnose and Address Adolescent Depression,” which was presented last year within the four-part Global Mental Health Series.

According to Goldberg, it is important for parents to be role models, maintaining a balanced life and providing examples for their children in facing “the new normal.” He recommended that parents structure the day, particularly when it comes to doing homework or chores and defining spaces.

In turn, Behn spoke of the need to limit access to news and help to contextualize the situation in a transparent way, without dramatizing or providing false information.

Both experts agreed on the importance of parents being open to questions, validating the child’s feelings and being compassionate and empathetic.