A project of the Child Trends News Service supported by the National Science Foundation

Mental Health Hygiene During COVID-19

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire)—The COVID-19 pandemic has caused stress for everyone – including kids. Now a new study shows there may be easy ways to help your little ones stay mentally healthy during this uncertain time.

Their whole world has been turned upside down. Kids are experiencing the stresses of a pandemic! But a new study shows there may be some simple ways to help your little ones practice good mental health hygiene. Scientists looked at 300 5th-8th grade students. They found that those who participated in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program reported improved psychological functioning and less stress and anxiety compared to those who took a health education course. The mindfulness program taught the children breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, mindfulness while eating, and more. Experts say these types of activities are simple to do at home. For example, you can place a stuffed animal on a child’s stomach and ask them to rock it to sleep with gentle breaths.

Authors of the study say another activity is to have a child hold a common object behind their back and ask them to notice and describe how it feels. Or when children feel sad, ask them, “Where do you feel sad? In your eyes or your throat or your chest?” These simple approaches encourage mindfulness and may lower stress.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Julie Marks, Writer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. 

(Source: https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/137/1/e20152532)

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