WYOMING \u2014 This pandemic has already caused an enormous amount of anxiety and uncertainty for most in Wyoming. That\u2019s amongst adults.\r\n\r\nImagine children. They know more than you think. They pick up everything. They sometimes sense parents\u2019 fears even when they are not verbalized.\r\n\r\nWith the outbreak of the coronavirus impacting many aspects of daily life, the Wyoming Department of Family Services (DFS) wants residents to remember children and parents need additional support and understanding during times of increased stress.\r\n\r\n\u201cIncreased stress causes people to focus more on the negative,\u201d according to Ed Heimer, field administrator and licensed clinical social worker with DFS.\u00a0\u201cIf you assume the worst in a situation, you\u2019re liable to provoke negative behavior from other people. This can potentially keep a negative behavior cycle going.\u201d\r\n\r\nTo combat a negative thought and behavior cycle, Heimer suggests switching off disturbing media and instead switching on relaxing and soothing music, taking a walk or looking for positive news.\r\n\r\nHeimer says additional parenting tips include increasing communication with children, consistently reinforcing positive behaviors no matter how small they may seem, and creating a calm environment.\r\n\r\n\u201cEven small, or incremental changes to the environment, can produce significant positive results,\u201d he said.\r\n\r\nExperts say it\u2019s important to monitor all children, especially adolescents, for signs of increased stress. Signs can include irritability, changes in behavior and changes in eating and sleeping habits.\u00a0To help alleviate the stress, according to Heimer, exercise if possible and make time for fun with children of all ages. Another idea is to encourage adolescents to talk or write about the situation and their stress.\r\n\r\n\u201cAdults have had time to develop coping mechanisms to stress and children rely on the adults in their lives to appropriately role model those skills\u201d Heimer said.\u00a0\u201cAdults can play a key role in supporting and managing a child's stress.\u201d\r\n\r\nParents can help by modeling appropriate behavior, letting their children become problem solvers and combating negative thinking by reframing the negative into a positive.\r\n\r\nCurrently, all DFS field offices remain open.\u00a0 For help or support call a local DFS office.