Helping Teens Cope with Social Distancing

Quaranteens: Social Distancing During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Teens are social creatures by nature. They thrive among their friends. Social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic might be especially difficult for them. Not only are they missing their friends, but they’re also missing events like class trips, sweet 16 parties, prom, and graduation – milestones. Here are five ways that parents can help their older kids with the impact of the COVID-19 quarantine.

The power of technology:

This might be a first, but we’re encouraging families to embrace technology. It’s okay to relax the rules around the use of technology so that teens can text, Facetime, use group video chats, and social media. Social distancing does not have to mean social isolation.

And then unplug:

Take walks. Get back to nature. Plant vegetables. Chalk inspirational messages on sidewalks and driveways for all to see. Cook. Eat together. Play music. Dance. Play games. Talk. Allow your teens to initiate the activities.

Bolster their generous nature:

People who feel that they have a purpose feel happier in life. Brainstorm with your teen as to how they or the whole family can help during the pandemic. Maybe it’s picking up groceries for senior citizens, offering virtual tutoring for students, or making an appointment to donate blood. It’s wide open.

Be aware of signs of depression, anxiety and/or substance use:

Parents should keep an eye out for symptoms of depression or anxiety. If teens are sleeping all day or having difficulty sleeping, don’t show interest in anything, eating too much or too little, drinking or using drugs, and/or if they’re panicking, it may be time to get help. Here are a few resources:

Westchester County’s Department of Community Mental Health, information, support and referral line. Resources and tips for coping with Covid-19: Call-914-995-1900, Text- 914-461-7281

St. Vincent’s Crisis Prevention & Response Team (914) 925-5959

New York State Office of Mental Health COVID-19 Emotional Support Line, (844) 863-9314

New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports: 1-877-8-HOPE NY (1-877-846-7369)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Crisis Text Line, Text “Got5” to 741-741