Social distancing is hard for everyone, but it can be especially tough on teens. After all, we’re asking them to stay home just when they’re craving independence and social connections. They’re worrying about how the pandemic will affect their future, missing their friends, and missing out on once-in-a-lifetime milestones like prom and graduation.
And as summer approaches, it will be harder to keep kids following social distancing. Try these tips to get through to teens:
- Validate what they’re going through. You know what? This pandemic totally sucks! Acknowledge that teens are dealing with real losses right now, and give them space to grieve — for “normal” life, for loved ones who are sick, for missed milestones or canceled plans. Let them know that whatever they’re feeling is okay.
- Remember that there’s no universal COVID-19 experience. For some teens, missing their social life may be the least of their worries. They may also be facing very grown-up challenges like caring for family members and working in food service or other essential jobs.
- Remind them that it’s normal to feel anxious or depressed. Reassure teens that anxiety, panic, and depression are normal responses to, you know, the end of the world as we knew it! Encourage them to talk to a trusted adult if they’re feeling overwhelmed, and direct them to remote options for mental health care.
- Empower teens to help. Teens may feel like there’s not much they can control right now. Remind them that steps like staying home can help slow the spread of the virus — and save lives. Suggest ways they can help others, like raising money for COVID-19 relief efforts or helping older neighbors get groceries. Read more