ST. CLOUD -- The disruptions of COVID-19 has affected all of us, however for teenagers, this time of isolation and distance can be a tougher pill to swallow.

Many teens long for their social outlets provided by school and sports, but have since been taken away by the pandemic.

Barbara Skodje Mack is an Integrated Behavior Health Provider at CentraCare. She says it's important to sit down with your kid, identify their struggles and come up with some creative ways to help.

A simple thing is listening to kids share their story and let them talk. Instead of telling them what to do, be there a support and reflect and validate their feelings.

She says simple things such as keeping a schedule, learning a new activity or finding new ways to connect with friends are great resources to help teens navigate through these mental and emotional challenges brought on by the pandemic.

Any creative way kids can stay connected I think is wonderful. I've heard of some kids scheduling a weekly movie and Facetime each other as they watch the movie, talk about it and experience that movie together but separate.

She says as parents it's also important to give your child positive feedback, pick your battles when it comes to your own frustrations and spend some quality time together away from technology.

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