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Supporting Children in Tough Economic Times: Information for Parents

As more and more families are coping with the harsh realities of the current economic crisis, many parents question how best to support their children’s resilience in the face of stress.

  • Maintain as much of a normal family routine as possible.
  • Be available and open to talk when your child is ready.
  • Answer questions honestly and calmly while staying optimistic.
  • Be aware of changes in your child’s behaviors and emotions.
  • Encourage your child to tell you if he or she feels overwhelmed.
  • Encourage healthy and diverse friendships and involvement in extracurricular activities.
  • Encourage physical activity, good nutrition, and rest.
  • Keep your child aware of anticipated family changes. Acknowledge that change can feel uncomfortable but reassure him or her that the family will be okay.
  • Do not hide the truth from your child. Children sense parents’ worry and the unknown can be scarier than the truth. However, avoid unnecessary discussions in front of your child that might increase his or her stress or anxiety.
  • Help your child be part of decision making when appropriate.
  • Some adolescents will feel better if they can help; identify tasks that are reasonable and don’t overburden them.
  • Reassure your child that it is not his or her job to fix the problem and that you will take care of the family.
  • Emphasize the family’s ability to get through tough times, particularly with the love and support of family and friends.
  • Find time to relax and have fun together. Family dinnertime may be especially important.
  • Discourage an excessive focus on the news.
  • Explain the dangers of unhealthy coping strategies, such as use of drugs and alcohol.
  • Monitor your own stress level. Take care of yourself.
  • Communicate with school. They need to know if your child is struggling. They have resources to help.