Children’s Health

Beyond trick-or-treating: Safe Halloween fun during the COVID-19 pandemic

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Celebrating Halloween by going trick-or-treating or attending a party could be very risky this year. Here are tips to help you and your family stay safe while having fun.

Cultivating joy as a family

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The pandemic has been difficult for everyone, but particularly for families. Everyone is feeling so much uncertainty and stress, but one thing we can do is look for ways to create small moments of joy every day. Games, activities, creativity, being outdoors — there are simple, fun ways to be together and make memories.

As family well-being declines, so does children’s behavior

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the mental health of people who have not been sick, and parents are being hit particularly hard. A survey of US parents found that these worsening circumstances also affect children’s behavior.

Sick child this school year? Planning for the inevitable during a pandemic

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Kids get sick: it happens, and most of the time it’s not cause for concern or alarm. But this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic every symptom will be scrutinized. Parents need to be aware of what to do when their child shows signs of illness this year.

Managing the new normal: Actively help your family weather the pandemic

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

More than six months into the pandemic, it’s clear that we are going to be living with it for some time, and that expectations of life soon returning to normal are not realistic. This is a good time to assess the adjustments we’ve made and see how we can make different choices to get ourselves and our families through the challenge.

5 takeaways for returning to school

As school districts across the country struggle with uncertainty about reopening, teachers, staff, and parents share deep concerns. Is a safe return to in-person learning even possible? How do parents cope with the challenges and pressures they are facing? How can we best support our children and their teachers?

Limiting COVID chaos during the school year

As the school year begins, plans for how learning will happen are in flux, and may change rapidly. With so much uncertainty, parents will want to limit confusion and create as much structure as they can for their children in this difficult situation.

How to help your child get the sleep they need

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Back-to-school plans are still a question mark for many school districts, and it’s probably tempting to let a more relaxed summer sleep schedule stay in place. But consistency and routine are important for children and teens to ensure they get enough high-quality sleep. Here’s how to create that structure.

Blown up in smoke: Young adults who vape at greater risk of COVID symptoms

While the majority of deaths from COVID-19 have occurred in people 65 or older, younger people who smoke or vape are at much higher risk of becoming infected — twice as likely as those in the same age group who do not use any nicotine-containing substance.

Children, teens, and the safety of psychotropic medicines

While many children and teens are prescribed psychotropic medicines to treat conditions like depression or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a comprehensive look at safety data has been lacking. A recent review of multiple studies synthesizes evidence on the side effect profiles of many widely used medicines.