School's out for the summer, and it's going to be unforgettable - but probably not in the way most families would want. Due to COVID-19, teens are facing different challenges this summer than in years past. In addition to the normal growing pains, add a pandemic to the mix, and many parents may be wondering what they can do to help.
Dr. Amy Khan, Executive Medical Director for Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah says parents can do a few key things to help their teens thrive during this unusual summer. The most important thing? "Keep talking to them.
"I think silence is really kind of a dangerous thing at this time, so really engage our kids and share honestly how you’re feeling, recognizing in addition to them navigating a world with COVID, which is new for all of us, they’re also going through a lot of developmental changes and are pretty frustrated they can’t do the kinds of things they’d planned to do this sumer," said Khan.
Khan explained that it is important to acknowledge how your teens are feeling - missing out on camp, sports or social events that can be so important to them. Helping them plan safe, fun activities they can look forward to can be a good way to help your teen cope.
"It's really important to brainstorm with these kids - what’s going to be meaningful to them.and all the while being mindful of how do we maintain some safety during this extraordinary time," said Khan.
It's also important to continue being a good role model for your teen. Model good behavior by staying vigilant with social distancing, hand washing, wearing a mask and staying home when sick.
Dr. Khan says it is important to remember that despite COVID-19, teens still need to grow and be challenged. She said parents can help "Identify some projects they can be involved with, maybe some ways to develop their passion, perhaps helping others as a way to help them help themselves."
If your child is struggling with depression or anxiety right now, you should also seek the help of an expert. You can find help through your health provider, or use the SafeUT app as a good resource.
Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah would like to help answer your health questions! Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.