Physician discusses mental, emotional toll of COVID-19 on kids ahead of Halloween

Parents should think of other alternatives to keep their children safe and entertained

Jack-o'-lantern (Pixabay 2020)

AdventHealth Pediatric Neuropsychologist Dr. Michael Westerveld discussed the emotional and mental toll of COVID-19 on kids during a weekly briefing on Thursday.

“Kids will often show their stress and their feelings and their frustration through behaviors,” Westerveld said.

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With Halloween just a few days away, things will be different this year due to the pandemic and some families may be scared to go out trick-or-treating.

“If the kids really, really, want to go and it becomes a decision of okay we really want to do this for the kids, one of the things that you can do is make sure that you do the physical distancing. So don’t go out with a large group of people,” Westerveld explained.

He also said parents should think of other alternatives to keep their children safe and entertained.

“There’s people you interact with all the time, you know they’ve been tested, you know their hygiene habits are safe, so try to plan an activity like a play date and make a Halloween party out of it,” Westerveld said.

Asked if its a good idea to sanitize packaged candy, AdventHealth Dr. Michael Keating said it wouldn’t hurt.

“There’s not a lot of concern about aerosol transmission as there might be with things that are passed on surfaces, but it can occur so take that extra precaution and try to sanitize things," Keating said.

Coronavirus has definitely become a game changer for many things, including holidays. In fact, earlier this week, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings mentioned how some neighborhoods are preparing to hand out candy safely.

“Many of our neighborhoods are already been proactive in kind of changing in giving candy individually out to trick-or-treaters and placing it out in bags, small bags so they can only touch one bag,” Demings said.

The mayor also explained it will be up to parents to make the decision about whether or not to allow their children to go out and trick-or-treat this Halloween. if they do, health officials strongly encourage hand washing and wearing masks.

About the Author:

Ezzy Castro is a multimedia journalist on News 6's morning team who has a passion for telling the stories of the people in the Central Florida community. Ezzy worked at WFOR CBS4 in South Florida and KBMT in Beaumont, Texas, where she covered Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Being from Miami, Ezzy loves Cuban coffee and croquetas!