Tips to help keep kids positive and engaged at home during the pandemic

As the holidays collide with COVID-19, a new survey finds many parents are worried about their children’s ability to continue to cope with missing out on so much. 

A child psychologist shared how he’s building resilience in his own kids and how parents can use what he’s learned.

Dr. Parker Huston, a psychologist at Nationwide Children's Hospital, speaks with countless families about coping with stress and building resilience in their kids during this challenging time. It’s something he’s now putting into practice in his own household, where his dining room has now become a learning room for their two kids. 

“We put a chalkboard on the wall because, why not make an adjustment like that? The kids think it’s fun. We can practice math problems or writing and spelling and things like that," he said. 
“As parents, I think it's on us to be a little bit creative this year, thinking through 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.”

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

The survey also found nearly three in five parents feel they’re running out of ways to keep their kids positive.      

But Dr. Huston says kids are incredibly adaptive with the right support. 

“They're constantly changing and adapting to new things and learning new things, so the biggest thing that they probably react to is how the adults in their lives are responding.” 

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 Dr. Huston was amazed at his daughter’s ability to see the bright side when she got the news that her special art academy would now be virtual. 

“She looked right at me and said, "You know, now that I get to do it at home, 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."

Dr. Huston is the clinical director of On Our Sleeves, a movement to transform children’s mental health. It offers resources to parents such as conversation starters and warning signs of depression and anxiety.       

You can learn more and get more tips on how to help kids stay positive and engaged at