Children might be curious these days with questions like “Why are we not going out anywhere, mom?”, or “When will Covid – 19 end, dad?” As parents, as much as we all know how important maintaining social distancing is, we also need to be aware of the fact that social distancing and self-isolation leads to stress and could adversely impact the mental health of children. Children have been known to show signs of irritation and anxiety when they have limited human interaction. But parents can help children cope with stress during these uncertain times by following a few simple things:
- Be Supportive
Children will have a number of questions for you to answer – be honest, but comforting. They are bound to get anxious and feel lonely during these times. Just be there for them. They might show signs of loneliness, discontent and even anger at times because of limited human interaction and little to no visits to public places such as playgrounds and parks. Be extra supportive and give them extra care and affection. Try to understand how they feel about the Covid – 19 situation. Set time aside for your children and figure out ways to make family time fun!
2) Make a daily routine for children
Nothing works better than sticking to a daily schedule. Add in a study routine or think of fun activities during the day to keep the children busy. Children feel calmer when they know what is going to happen and when. Eat your meals together, watch TV shows with children, take your dog out for a walk together and have days where you can simply have fun at home to knock off boredom and stress! Have a set schedule but of course, with a bit of change to avoid monotony.
3) Minimize watching the news
Of course, it is important to be aware of the current scenario, but it is even more important that the news doesn’t affect children or increase their anxiety. Limit or monitor the use of social media amongst your children and their friends as it may be a carrier of anxiety-building content, especially about Covid- 19. Stay informed about the situation and keep your children informed too. It is important for them to know about how the situation is being managed but at the same time, ensure they are more involved in other activities at home or focussing on their studies.
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4) Time to pick a hobby!
What better way to spend time than learning your favourite hobby online! Does your child want to learn to play the guitar? Or maybe he’s keen on learning calligraphy? How about yoga or gymnastics? Go ahead and book online classes for your children. This will not only keep them occupied but also help in picking up a new skill. It’s a great way to make use of time at home during the Covid – 19 pandemic!
5) Video call friends and family
If there is one thing children miss the most in this pandemic, it is their friends. Ideally, it isn’t advised to meet them personally, but why not get them all connected virtually? With the increase in the number of virtual multiplayer games and activities in this pandemic, let children enjoy the company of their friends and family members who are away from home. Maybe try organizing a fun activity for them on the video call. Let children stay connected with their friends and family members virtually to brighten up their day.
At the end of the day remember as a parent, you would know what’s best for your child. Being supportive and empathetic with children during this Covid – 19 pandemic is the best way to minimize their stress. Children are far more resilient than we give them credit for, and with the right support, they can bounce back from any adversity. The key is to make sure they understand the situation without it becoming too overwhelming and help them focus on productive activities.