By Andrea Grymes

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The coronavirus pandemic is taking a mental toll on many of us, especially children.

Coping with everything, now in the middle of winter, is proving challenging for many families, CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported Monday.

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“It’s hard. It’s really stressful for them. It’s not the same as before,” parent Diana Mota-Feliciano said.

Mota-Feliciano says it has not been easy, not only dealing with her stress during the pandemic, but also that of her son, Liam, who is in first grade.

“We can’t take off the mask because the virus is still here,” Liam said.

When asked if his behavior is still the same, Mota-Feliciano said, “Not really. It’s not the same. He doesn’t want to do the work. He says, ‘I’m not doing nothing.'”


White Plains mom Gina Norfleet said her three kids, ages 12, 14 and 16, miss personal connections.

“They struggle with not seeing family. We are big family people, and not being able to see their friends physically,” Norfleet said.

All of this falls into a wide range of how COVID-19 is affecting children and their emotional well-being.

In a CBS News interview, President Joe Biden acknowledged the toll, specifically on those who have not been to school in-person.

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When told by anchor Norah O’Donnell that there’s a mental health crisis happening, Biden responded, “There really is.”

Dr. Laura Phillips is a neuropsychologist with the Child Mind Institute in Midtown. She said it’s important for parents to make sure their kids have a daily routine that includes physical activity, which is critical; they make time for socially distanced or Zoom playdates, and limit exposure to news.

And when outbursts arise, she advises validating their feelings.

“The frustration, the anxiety, the social isolation, the loss that we’re all experiencing right now and helping to put words to what our kids are feeling, so they’re better able to cope,” Phillips said.


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White Plains School Superintendent Dr. Joseph Ricca says there’s also reason to hope.

“For folks growing up during this period of time, resilience may be up. The ability to deal with difficulty and challenges and problem-solve through that may be up,” Ricca said.

He advises parents to look for any way to minimize stress on their kids, adding nowadays schools are even more equipped to offer support or connect families with resources if they need help.

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Phillips says self care is child care these days, and it’s important for parents to remember to take some time for themselves.

Andrea Grymes