How To Talk About Health Anxiety With Your Children

Nov 02, 2023
NYC Teen Therapist, Best Therapist for Teens and Adolescents NYC

How To Talk About Health Anxiety With Your Children

Teen girl looking sad out the window in New York. Talking about Health anxiety with children and teens during the COVID 19 pandemic of Coronavirus in New York, New York


“Mom, what’s a coronavirus?”

“Dad, am I going to get sick?”

If you have children who are old enough to hear or read the news, then it is likely they will ask you these, or similar health-related questions, sooner rather than later.

Or maybe they hear about relatives passing away from various diseases and are worried the same thing will happen to them.

Maybe your kiddos even act out more than normal in order to get attention, or just feel like they have a little more control over their out-of-control lives. Read more about this, including thoughts from Happy Apple NYC Therapist and Founder Maggie, in this NYT article about dealing with fighting kids during a crisis.

Be it as it may, kids these days are much more aware of everything that goes on around them than we were at their age, thanks to their exposure to social media sites.

So, what does a parent do when children become anxious about their health?

Your first reaction may be to tell them that nothing bad will happen to them. But as well-intentioned as this response may be, you can’t protect your children from bad news — nor should you try.  The goal isn't to eliminate anxiety, but to help your child manage it.

After all, if they don’t learn how to handle their fears at an early age, then they may grow up to become anxious adults.

Don’t spread your own panic: 

Your child takes cues from you; if you stay calm, so will they. True, it may not be easy to keep your own anxieties private, especially in difficult situations.

Some of our previous blog posts on the topic may help! 

  • Building Resilience is Possible for Everyone, Even the Faint-Hearted

  • Is Bad News Making You Anxious?

Acknowledge their fears: 

When your child expresses anxiety or worry, validate these feelings and let them know it is okay. Never dismiss a child's fear, no matter how irrational it may seem.  Like adults, kids need to feel heard and respected.

Be honest: 

Encourage your child to ask you any questions they like and do your best to answer them in a truthful but age-appropriate way. If, for example, the child asks you about the coronavirus, you can say that yes, it is a serious disease, but there are ways everyone can protect themselves from catching it, and many people are now working on finding treatment.

Create strategies to manage their fears:

Children need age-appropriate coping skills that can help them in difficult situations. For kids up to 8 years of age or so, calming and mind-occupying activities like painting, puzzles, or games will distract them from whatever is making them anxious at any given moment. 

For older kids, different strategies may be needed.  The point is to keep anxiety from taking over every aspect of their lives by helping them to think rationally, put things in perspective, and generally develop a positive attitude. 

Scared child is worried about health during COVID 19 global pandemic due to Coronavirus in New York City. Online therapy in New York can help children.

With understanding parents and appropriate coping skills, kids of all ages will be able to find their comfort zone.

But if you think that severe anxiety is harming your child’s mental and emotional well-being, then professional help may be needed. We would be happy to help you and your child in therapy at Happy Apple NYC. We can see anyone in the state through online counseling in New York. However, if therapy in Midtown Manhattan isn’t convenient for you long-term, your pediatrician can refer the child to a therapist used to working with youngsters.

Begin Therapy for the Whole Family in New York with Happy Apple NYC

Are you ready to start therapy in New York? Online counseling can be a great way to get your needs met as an individual, family or couples. We look forward to talking with you, soon! Just follow these steps:

  1. Contact our office to schedule an appointment.

  2. Meet with one of our caring therapists.

  3. Begin therapy on your terms, at your convenience, today.

More Therapy Services at Happy Apple NYC

At Happy Apple, we want to make sure you have all the support you need to live a full and balanced life in New York City. That’s why we offer services for stress, depression, trauma, children and teens, relationships and couples, chronic pain, life transitions, grief and loss, careers, and LGBTQ concerns. If you need support online anywhere in the state of New York or in our counseling office in Midtown, Manhattan, we are here to help! We look forward to hearing from you soon.