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Coronavirus Mental Health: As Parents' Fears Rise, Expert Offers Coping Strategies For Children

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, a new survey finds parents are worried about the impact on their children's mental health.

As CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez reported Thursday, a child psychologist is building resilience in his own children, and you can use those lessons.

"We put a chalkboard on the wall because, you know, why not make an adjustment like that? The kids think it's fun," Dr. Parker Huston said.

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The Hustons' dining room is now a learning room for their two kids.

As a clinical psychologist at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Parker Huston speaks with countless families about coping with stress and creatively building resilience in their kids during this challenging time.

"What are some activities? What are some ways they can stay connected? What are some ways that they can get their energy out this winter?" Huston said.


A new national survey by Nationwide Children's Hospital, finds two-thirds of parents are worried the effects the coronavirus pandemic is having on their children's mental health will be harder to reverse the longer it continues.

The survey also finds nearly 3 in 5 parents feel they're running out of ways to keep their kids positive.

But kids are incredibly adaptive with the right support.

"The biggest thing that they probably react to is how the adults in their lives are responding," Huston said.

MOREExpert: Coronavirus Mental Health Curve Will Take Even Longer To Flatten

It's important to adjust your home environment to create as much structure and normalcy as possible, with designated spaces for learning, alone time, and play.

Even Huston said he was amazed at his daughter's positive spirit when she got the news that her special art academy would now be virtual.

"She looked right at me and said, 'I'm a little bummed that I won't be at school. But now my brother can do it with me and I can show him all the projects and maybe he can do some, too,'" Huston said.

With a little luck and vaccines, this situation will last just a few more months, so hang in, help is on the way. But if your child is really suffering, seek professional help. It's often available by telehealth.

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