Take care of yourself in the time of COVID-19 outbreak
recommendations and advice for adolescents and their parents
Children and young people should understand basic age-appropriate coronavirus (COVID-19) information, including its symptoms, complications, how it is transmitted, and how to prevent transmission.
Get information about COVID-19 from reliable sources of information such as UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the Ministry of Health and the Serbian Government website dedicated to COVID-19: https://covid19.rs/
Follow our advice:
- In a situation like this, it is normal to feel sad, worried, confused, scared or angry. You should know that you are not alone and should talk to someone you trust, such as a parent or a trusted adult, so that you can protect yourself and your health.
- Ask questions, educate yourself and listen to information from reliable sources.
- Wash your hands frequently, always with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Remember not to touch your face.
- Do not share cups, food or drinks with others.
- Do not stigmatize and exclude your peers and do not tease anyone that they are ill; remember that the virus does not know about geographical boundaries, ethnicity, age, ability or gender.
- Tell your parents, another family member or whomever that is taking care of you if you are feeling sick and ask to stay home.
- Be aware of false information and misconceptions, whether transmitted verbally or online.
- Take a break from watching, reading, or listening to news, including social networks. Listening about the spread of the viral infection multiple times throughout the day can be disturbing.
- Take care of your body. Take a deep breath, stretch out or meditate. Try to eat healthy, balanced meals, exercise regularly, sleep a lot, and avoid harmful substances.
- Have some time for relaxing. Try to combine things you have to do with activities you enjoy.
- People with the virus circulate in the population and transmit it to others, often without knowing that they may be symptom-free or only have mild symptoms. That is why it is important to accept the call to stay home in order to avoid transmission and to go into quarantine if symptoms appear.
Recommendations for parents of adolescents
Children and adolescents often react in the same way as the adults around them.
When adults deal with an unpleasant topic, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, with calm and confidence, they are providing them with the best support.
Parents can provide more stable support for others around them, especially for children, if they are better prepared.
Not all adolescents respond to stress in the same way. Some common changes you should pay attention to:
- Excessive worrying or sadness
- Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
- Irritability and inappropriate behaviours
- Avoiding school-related obligations
- Attention and concentration difficulties
- Avoiding activities he/she used to enjoy in the past
- Unexplained headaches or body aches
- Alcohol, tobacco or substance abuse
There are many things you can do to support them:
- Take some time to talk to your child about the COVID-19 pandemic. Answer their questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child can understand.
- Convince your child that they are safe. Let them know that it's okay if they feel upset. Share with them how you cope with your own stress.
- Limit your family's exposure to news, including social media. Children can misinterpret what they hear and may be scared of something they do not understand.
- Try to maintain regular routines. Make a schedule of work activities and relaxing or fun activities.
- Be a role model. Rest, sleep, exercise and eat well. Connect with friends and family members.
- Explain to them that by protecting their own health, they are also protecting the health of everyone around them.