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Dr. Sandra Pimentel, Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychology, explains how to create resilience in kids during the era of COVID-19.

How can parents develop resilience in children during the era of COVID-19? Montefiore's Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychology, Dr. Sandra Pimentel, shares some ways parents can create family resiliency, and discusses the value of structure, social support, stress release, focusing on the positive and practicing gratitude.

Transcript

STAY STRONG

How do parents help develop resilience in children?

Parents will ask, how do we create resiliency in kids especially during COVID-19? Or they'll ask, is my child resilient? One of the things to remember is that resiliency is not all or none. Resilience means how we adapt during tough times. So by definition, we need tough times to create resiliency. And one of the upsides of COVID-19 is that we can use this time to build resiliency skills in ourselves and in kids. Now, one of the most important features of resilience in children is resilience in parents and there's a very robust literature that supports this which means that when we look at child resiliency, one of the most important factors is how well parents are taking care of themselves. How well are parents managing their own stress? So when we see good adapting in children, we see positive adapting in their parents and their parents' own management of stress. So parents, take care of yourselves, making sure you're getting enough sleep, making sure that you're exercising, that you are finding time to yourself, you're finding social support, you're managing your stress. That's number one.

What is family resiliency and how can parents help foster it?

Number two is creating a family resiliency. Do you have an environment where your family is talking about hard feelings, anxiety, sadness, anger, confusion. There are a lot of those feelings going around and for good reason. So are you creating an environment where kids feel they can talk about when they're anxious and it gives you the opportunity to normalize and validate those feelings? Are you able to demonstrate your own sadness or stress? Sometimes parents don't wanna show these things and within reason it's appropriate to show kids your own anxieties and how you're coping and managing them. So it becomes important to talk about feelings, normalizing them and validating them and understanding what specifically are kids worried about? What are they worried about when it comes to school or friends or some of the social things? What are they scared of when it comes to COVID-19? Getting them to express these specifics and then maybe helping them one, normalize it and two, problem solve if they need to problem solve around it. Another important aspect of this is sometimes we have to tolerate hard feelings, sometimes we have to tolerate uncomfortable feelings that come with uncertainty. There's a lot of uncertainty still to go around and we have to tolerate some of those uncertainties. And related to that is when there are so many things out of our control, it becomes important to focus on, well, what's in your control, what's in your control today, what's in your control right now. Another aspect of this family resiliency is talking about your value. So talking about feelings and then talking about your values, why do you choose to wear a mask? Why is it important to wear a mask for public health, to take care of others and to keep others safe, to keep ourselves safe, of course, why are we washing our hands? Why are we socially physically distancing? Because it's important to take care of others and that's connected to our values. And so families discussing these reasons may encourage kids to follow through with these behaviors when they're out and about. So creating an environment to understand why we're choosing to engage in certain behaviors is important.

How can structure help children during this time?

Another aspect of resilience and building resiliency as kids is structure, structure, rituals, routines to the extent that we can help kids plan their day, plan their week, plan their time. Not that it has to be over-scheduled or rigid but within flexibility, we want to do whether a child is going to school full time, remote learning or some of these hybrid models, schedules become even more important. When are they expected to be? Where, when can they take breaks? When can they have screen time or when can they have downtime? Families can schedule coping time together or stress release time together. One of the meals happening and this becomes even more important as there are more moving parts. Another part of this sort of resilience skill is structuring and scheduling sleep and sleep time. It's such an important and essential part of our health. And especially when we're building resiliency in these difficult times, getting back to a schedule of sleep that is healthier depending on your child's age. So structure, rituals, routine become even more important with some of the uncertainties we have going around us. Building resilience also means finding social support, finding and using social support. An essential feature of a resiliency skill that we can use is who can we count on? Who can we call when we are feeling down? Who can we call when we need a laugh? So helping kids to build their social support teams, who can they reach out to? Of course they may have their parents or grandparents or cousins or siblings depending on the sibling. And they might be able to reach out to a friend, whether it's a socializing on Zoom or a social distance play date, if that's allowed, helping them to understand that we have to create this and do this on purpose. So building social support as a resiliency skill and an important thing for parents to do, if you're gonna call a friend or if you're gonna call someone for social support, say it's, I'm gonna call so-and-so 'cause I'm kind of in a low mood and I'm gonna reach out to them. So modeling for them, the act of reaching out for help, that's an important resiliency skill.

How can families help children focus on the positive?

And then finally, two related points. These tough times that we're in COVID-19 has been extremely challenging for many months now. One of the upsides of these tough times are all the positives we are seeing, the opportunities of neighbors helping neighbors, folks volunteering to help each other, the creative ways that people are assisting and coming out to help each other are really tremendous. So being able to point these out and observe them with your children and look for on purpose so looking for the good and then creating opportunities for kids to do some altruistic things, to volunteer, to be a part of their neighborhood and to be part of the collective also as a resilience scale. And a related point in this is gratitude. One of the most important and powerful methods for people to feel better is to practice gratitude. And there may be times that you can schedule in the day where in the morning or maybe at dinner time, the family can talk about what they're grateful for. So creating a practice, a daily practice of gratitude can become very uplifting and an important skill as you're building resilience in your children and your family and for all of us.

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6:47
Dr. Mario Garcia, Montefiore’s Division of Cardiology Chief,  discusses what vascular conditions can be caused by COVID-19

How does COVID-19 affect the heart? Montefiore’s Division of Cardiology Chief, Dr. Mario Garcia, discusses how COVID-19 affects the heart, what vascular conditions can be caused by COVID-19, who is most at risk, some forms of prevention and when it is important to seek medical care.

Transcript

STAY STRONG

- How does COVID-19 affect the heart?

- COVID-19 is a disease that takes a lot from the heart. The heart requires oxygen to work and the heart delivers oxygen to the body. In COVID-19, there's a greater necessity to pump blood with oxygenation and at the same time, there is less amount of oxygen that is extracted from the lungs that are inflamed. Under such conditions, the heart sometimes have breathing disorders or sometimes develops a condition called heart failure.

-How can I care for my heart if I'm diagnosed with COVID-19?

- If you are in good health, you're likely not to have any consequences in your heart from contracting COVID-19. You should live a healthy lifestyle, exercise regularly and if you take medications for any heart condition or for high blood pressure or for diabetes, you should continue taking those medications as prescribed by your doctor.

- What other vascular conditions are people at risk for with COVID-19?

- All the vital organs have blood vessels. It has been proven that the coronavirus can enter through the lining of these vessels and cause injury that provoke blood clots to form. Blood clots that are large can actually go through the circulation and cause damage to the organs including a stroke, including liver failure, kidney failure and heart attacks. That is why one of the most important treatments in COVID-19 is the use of blood thinners. At Montefiore, we're doing research to try to determine what is the best dose of blood thinners to be used, what is the best class of blood thinners to be given and what is the appropriate duration of treatment once the patient is discharged from the hospital?

- Who is at risk for heart complications with COVID-19?

- If you already have a heart condition, poorly controlled high blood pressure or diabetes or if you smoke or are severely overweight, the chances of getting heart damage increases with COVID-19 as well as with any other severe illness. It is very important that you seek medical attention immediately if you have symptoms of heart disease such as chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations. On June first, the New York Times published an article that showed that during the first two months of the pandemic, there were over 6,000 deaths above what was seen in 2019. More recently, another study that was approved by the Investigational Review Board of Montefiore demonstrated that in New York, there were three times the number of people who die suddenly at home that have a cardiac arrest during the first two months of the pandemic. We believe that that happens because patients are afraid to come to the hospital. If you have any symptoms of heart disease, don't be afraid of visiting the hospital or your doctor's office. At Montefiore, we follow very strict protocols to ensure your safety. You can find more information on our website.

- What can I do to prevent heart complications caused by COVID-19?

- You should remember that heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States and many other countries in the world. Whether you have COVID-19 or not, you should pay attention to any symptoms of heart disease such as chest pain, shortness of breath or having fainting spells. If you have medical conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes, you should take the medications that have been prescribed by your doctor. Be very careful not to take medications that are not prescribed by your doctor that are being published in social media or by any other outlet and have not been approved by the FDA. These medications can often cause serious harm to your heart and to other organs. If you have any doubt, please consult to your doctor or feel free to call one of our specialists at Montefiore.

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4:18

COVID-19 Symptoms

People with COVID‑19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported, from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Individuals experiencing these symptoms or combination of symptoms may have COVID‑19:

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Cover Coughs

Cough

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Shortness of Breath

Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing


Or at least two of the symptoms below:

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Fever

Fever

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Chills

Chills

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Repeated shaking with chills

Repeated shaking with chills

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Muscle Pain

Muscle pain

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Headache

Headache

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Sore Throat

Sore throat

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New loss of taste or smell

New loss of taste or smell

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Diarrhea

Diarrhea


This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Care doesn’t stop

To ensure the safety of all our patients, we’ve implemented rigorous COVID-SAFE Care protocols, tailored to each setting.

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Covid-safe Care

Your Gratitude Keeps Us Going

The current outpouring of appreciation for New York's healthcare workers has been truly humbling. Our community's grace and optimism in the face of hardship inspires us every day. To all those who have cheered and honored our heroes, and to the many who are giving to support our COVID-19 efforts, Montefiore-Einstein would like to thank you. To those who would like to show their support, here's how.

How does COVID-19 spread?

The virus is thought to spread by people in close contact (approximately within 6 feet) through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is also possible to contract the virus by touching an infected surface or item and then touching the nose, eyes or mouth. The virus may be able to live on a surface for a prolonged period of time.

Protect Yourself
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Wash Hands
Wash hands frequently with soap
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Avoid Touching eyes and mouth
Avoid touching eyes, nose, mouth
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Seek Care
Seek care if you develop a fever, cough or shortness of breath
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Avoid Close Contact
Avoid close contact with people who are sick
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Distance
Maintain social distance of at least 6 feet
Protect Others
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Stay Home
Stay home if you’re unwell
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Cover coughs and sneezes
Cover coughs and sneezes
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Clean and disinfect surfaces
Clean and disinfect surfaces
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Mask
Use a face covering when leaving the home for essentials
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Distance
Maintain social distance of at least 6 feet

Trusted Information Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The leading national public health institute of the United States
 

NY.gov

For the latest COVID-19 guidelines and information from New York State 

World Health Organization

UN agency responsible for international public health