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A teen’s social life is a huge part of who they are and how they identify as individuals, so having in-person interactions pulled away can be especially difficult.

With recent stay at home orders and social distancing rules, it’s important to take cues from your teen and provide support where you can.

Behaviors such as excessive worry or sadness, unhealthy eating or sleeping habits, irritability or acting out, unexplained headaches or body pain and difficulty with attention and concentration are good indications that your teen is struggling.

Connecting with friends

Heather Roberts “It’s so important for teens to stay connected to others, especially when we have to practice social distancing,” said Heather Roberts, Child Life Supervisor at Tucson Medical Center. “There are so many ways to connect with friends these days with the internet, phones and video games. Our biggest suggestion would be to check out some connectivity apps. Some of them have fun games included, too.”

Connectivity apps include Marco Polo, Google Duo, Google Hangout, House Party and Zoom.

They can also set up challenges for their friends to complete, such as who can bake the coolest cake or who can do the craziest hairdo.

Healthy coping

Every teen is different and each one of them will need to find their own outlets for healthy coping, but you can suggest exercise or sports in the backyard, playing or listening to music, journaling, drawing or cooking and baking.

Support parents can offer

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shares the following tips on how to support your teen (or child) during the COVID-19 outbreak:

  • Take time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child or teen can understand.
  • Reassure your child or teen that they are safe. Let them know it is ok if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
  • Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.
  • Try to keep up with regular routines. If schools are closed, create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.
  • Be a role model.  Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with your friends and family members