The ongoing lockdown has filled our minds with the fear of uncertainty. In order to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, everybody's lifestyle has changed drastically, including kids. Schools have been shut down, children cannot meet their friends and the restriction on stepping outside has stopped all kinds of outdoor activities. The kids are going through a lot right now. The constant news around the increasing deaths and affected people due to the coronavirus could disturb the mental health of millions of housebound children. Parents play a vital role in providing support to their children and preparing them emotionally for such challenging times. Here are a few things you can do to make the situation a little more comfortable for your kid until everything goes back to normal.
1. Provide assurance whenever needed
It is important to listen to your child’s concerns, try answering their queries and reassuring them that everything will be fine soon. This is your chance to spend quality time with them and give them the attention they need. Reading them stories, painting or playing with them will make them feel loved and less lonely.
2. Let them contact with their friends
Physical distancing is a must but that should not be a reason to not call friends. Staying away and not meeting friends for a long time can be a cause of mental distress for children. Encourage them to video call friends, talk to their loved ones and stay connected during this time. You can also involve your children and their friends in some fun activities, online games and others.
3. Manage your child's anxiety
It is normal for your child to become anxious during this time. As a parent, you should look out for the emotional changes in your child and talk to them. If they are getting irritated easily, becoming arrogant or suddenly quiet, you should be there to cheer him/her up. Allow them to express their feelings without being judgmental. Make them understand the situation and take proper care.
4. Exercise and meditate
Positivity is of utmost importance during such unsettling times. Let your children know that this is a temporary phase and a chance to spend quality time with their parents and family members, who are otherwise busy with office or work. Exercise and meditation are two important activities to control their restlessness and help them stay calm and composed. Working out releases oxytocin- the happiness hormone and will uplift your child’s spirits in no time.
5. Share clear information with them
You should consider being transparent with your kids. A lot of fake reports and news, misinformation and fear-mongering are going around social media related to the outbreak. Make sure your kids are not exposed to these news networks. However, it is important to give them correct information about what is happening around the world, share facts and explain preventive measures.
6. Engage them in indoor activities
Children tend to get easily bored, especially when they are home all day. Involve them in indoor games, learning activities like solving puzzles and teaching them new crafts. Encourage them to pick up a hobby, discover their talents and interests by giving them constructive tasks to do so that the child’s minds focused and stress-free.
7. Manage media consumption
Since we are at home now and there’s no going out, adults and children are both engaging in too much screen time. This can be really harmful in the long run. Limit the amount of screen time because unnecessary information can lead to anxiety. It can also cause eye problems and sleeplessness. Encourage your children to engage in other activities instead.
8. Make a routine of learning at home
We all have a regular routine and lifestyle. Kids go to school, come back, play, study and sleep in time. This routine has been hampered due to the lockdown and our lifestyle has been altered. Ensure that your kids still maintain a regular habit of studying, complete the assignments, eat healthy food and get good sleep. This will help them get back to normal life sooner.
We are all in this for the first time, and it has not been easy. Be kind and forgive mistakes. You can let your kids know that everyone is fighting the pandemic and this will not last forever.