The 2020–21 school year is starting with a good deal of uncertainty as
many kids and their parents prepare for distance learning. While we can’t help
you teach 10th-grade math, we can offer support for medical and
mental health issues that might come up.
You know those
mornings when you wake up to a sick child and you’re not quite sure if they’re
OK or should see a doctor? You can call our 24-Hour NurseLine for a medical advice.
The phone number is on the back of your member ID card.
Your plan also offers
virtual care options. Your doctor’s office might offer a virtual care or sign
into your account to see what care apps are covered on your plan.
These can be great
options when your child is experiencing minor symptoms like a runny nose or
upset stomach. If you think your child may have COVID-related symptoms, a call the
nurseline or your child’s doctor for advice.
In this unusual year, it’s more important than ever to keep an eye on
kids’ mental health. Parents know their kids best, so if you find that your
child isn’t acting like themselves, discuss it with their care provider.
Kids don’t typically verbalize when they’re feeling stressed or anxious
like adults do. Instead, their stress often manifests as behavioral changes,
such as decreased school performance, social withdrawal, or disciplinary
issues. They might also have vague physical complaints like frequent headaches
or stomachaches that don’t have an identifiable physical cause.
A few things to try:
- Taking a break from screens: We’re all spending more time
on our devices while we’re at home and kids are no different. Set a time limit
on screen time and set an example by abiding by this limit yourself.
- Playing outside: Getting outside and being active is
important for kids. Time spent in nature provides a much-needed reprieve from technology
and can relieve stress. Remember that many people, including children, are
feeling the effects of less social engagement. Being outdoors allows for safer
interaction with others by providing space for social distancing.
- Watching their media diet: Even if the news is just on in
the background, kids are picking up on headlines and the underlying tone. The
goal is not to completely shelter your child from what’s going on in the world,
but to limit exposure to anxiety-provoking material. If they have questions
about current events, try talking it out. In this way you become their primary
source of information, rather than the media.
- Taking care of you: Caregivers are feeling an enormous
amount of stress right now and even the littlest of kids can pick up on that.
It’s OK to tell your child that you need to talk to your therapist, take a yoga
class, or engage in some
Premera offers mental health services at in-person or virtually through TalkSpace.
Empower your child
Things feel different right now—for all of us. We are wearing masks
every day, being hypervigilant about hand washing, and having minimized
interaction with others. Rather than a fear-based response, frame these
behaviors as something kids can do to exercise some control over the situation.
Explain to kids that by wearing a mask in public, regularly washing
their hands, and staying home, they are taking steps to keep themselves
healthy. Appeal to their compassionate side: explain that they can be a
superhero for someone else since these behaviors also prevent other people from