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April 02, 2020 Thursday 09:01:04 PM IST

How to support teens during Covid-19

Parent Interventions

Drs. Lee Beers and Danielle Dooley of Children’s National Hospital, USA offers some suggestions for supporting your teen during COVID-19.

5 strategies to support your teen during COVID-19:

Schedule: Setting a schedule with your teen remains important. Even though distance learning may be starting later in the day, and they don’t physically go to school, they need your support in establishing a schedule and routine.

Screen Time: Children of all ages are engaged in screens more than ever before, for connection to school and friends. However, we still need to monitor what our teens are doing on the screen and maintain limits on the amount of screen time that can be spent watching movies or TV shows, and texting with friends.

Social Connection: Using technology, we can support our teens in actively engaging with their friends. We’ve told our teenagers we expect them to FaceTime with a friend at least once a day. Texting, snapchatting and browsing Instagram are no substitute for some live on-screen interaction, which is vital for their development and connection to peers.

Special Events: Many teens and young adults may have had special events coming up, such as high school or college graduation, or a special dance or event at their school or in their community. It’s important to assure our teens that these milestones will be celebrated – perhaps at a different time and in a different way, but that we recognize the importance nonetheless. Teens can play an active role in redesigning these events; many schools have formed committees of students to plan these future events. Encourage your teen to participate and share their views and ideas.

Supporting Your Community: Teens can put their innovation and creativity to work by helping local organizations that are supporting community members in need during this challenging time. Have your teen research options for supporting your community, including making sandwiches for local food banks, collecting diapers, wipes and infant formula for a local diaper bank, sharing messages on social media about how to support the community and organizing support for elderly neighbors and family members.

Teenagers can teach us a lot about adaptability, innovation and resilience, and teens can thrive in this new time.

Written by: Lee Beers, MD - an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and the Medical Director for Community Health and Advocacy within the Goldberg Center for Community Pediatric Health and Child Health Advocacy Institute at Children’s National Hospital.

Danielle Dooley, MD a pediatrician and Medical Director of Community Affairs and Population Health at Children's National Hospital.