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What parents can do to help their kids cope during the coronavirus outbreak

A CHKD child psychiatrist offers some tips and warning signs.

NORFOLK, Virginia — Working from home, social distancing, and school cancellations: in recent days, this has become our world's reality. So with these major changes, many families are trying to figure out how to cope.

Mary Margaret Gleason, a pediatrician and child psychiatrist at CHKD, explains some of the ways parents can help their kids and themselves during this difficult time.

First, keep your family on the same routine. Keeping the same sleeping schedule for you and your kids is essential. 

Second, do not allow your kids extra screen time just because they're at home and there is nothing to do. Using electronics to babysit your kids is not productive or healthy for your child in the long run.

Third, make sure to talk to your kids about what is going on, but make sure it's in a way that you know they can handle.

"Recognizing the signs of behavior changes, big emotional explosions, they've stopped eating or sleeping for days on end. They're socially withdrawn. Those are signs that something isn't going well for that child," Gleason said.

As of late, all the world has been hearing lately is how we need to socially distance ourselves from one another, but as Dr. Gleason explained, keeping our distance doesn't necessarily mean we should stop being social.

"This idea of social distancing, really should be called physical distancing, because we still need that social connectivity," said Gleason.

If you see concerning changes in your child and they don't have a mental health physician, make sure to talk to your child’s pediatrician.

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