Parenting kids during COVID-19 lockdown

As the Novel Coronavirus or Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread and people find themselves in quarantine in order to most effectively practice `Social Distancing’. Parents or Adults are facing problems such as sudden disruption of the family routine & lack of social and physical activity as well. The situation can be more difficult if parents or adults are facing fears and anxiety of their own.

Children & teens react, in part, on what they see from the Adults around them. If the parents or adults or caregivers deal with Covid-19 calmly & confidently, they provide best support & environment to their children or teens. Parents can be more reassuring to others around them, especially children, if they are better prepared. Not all children or teens respond to stress in the same way. Some common changes to watch for include

• Excessive crying or irritation in younger children

• Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (for example, toileting accidents or bedwetting)

• Excessive worry or sadness (Also could be related to general topics or particularly about                                 Covid-19).

• Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits

• Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens

• Difficulty with attention and concentration

• Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past

• Unexplained headaches or body pain

There are many steps you can do to balance your child’s emotions through this quarantine period:-

• Keep your own emotions in check: In order for you to be present for your children, you need to work on being calm first. When you tell your child, “You must wear a mask. If you don’t, you will get infected,” you are communicating your anxiety to your child and making it difficult for him to maintain a healthy emotional state.

• Talk to your children about COVID-19: Share to your children honestly about how you are feeling. Make sure it’s child friendly and brief. Ensure you stick to fact from feelings. Talk about all the efforts being made in your city or country to keep people safe and healthy.

• Respond to questions & Reassure that they are safe in an age-appropriate manner: Answer whatever questions your child may have, but don’t overwhelm him/her with too much information. Avoid giving more details than what he/she need to know.

• Limit your family’s media exposure: Limit the time to news coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.

• Be a role model.  Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with your friends and family members through social networks.

• Do some sort of physical activity: Find ways to fit some active activity in your day for yourself. As when you are active and exercising, your body is releasing endorphins—happy hormones. So needed at this time!

• Stay healthy: Eat well balanced meals, get plenty of sleep and don’t forget to take short break for deep breathing.

As you’re home-bound, brainstorm with your child and make a list of enjoyable things to do.

Some Additional Activities to keep your children or teens engaged.

  1. Set up a treasure hunt: Use as many items as possible which can engage your child for few hours.
  2. Read at home: You can use as many books as possible other than school books to make your child’s reading skill awesome.
  3. Keep up the schedule: Even though the schools are closed, stick to the schedule. Wake up the child on the same time, make them study, have the breaks with some fun activity and stick to their eating schedules.
  4. Create a Hobby: It could be anything from building a Fort from extra Amazon or Flipkart Boxes to Plantation to practicing or learning musical instrument.
  5. Keeping time for digital exposure: Try limiting the child’s screening time as they stay home whole day it is easier for kids to get addicted to digital exposure including `Idiot Box’.
  6. Write a Letter or Diary: Ask your child to write a letter to the loved ones instead of massaging them. This would help them in their writing skills as well. Also you can encourage them to write the diary.
  7. Take help in some House hold chores: Infuse fun into your regular household chores and get your child involved in helping around the house cleaning & organizing.
  8. Break records of playing Indoor games: Play all kind of indoor games from board games to jigsaw puzzle to checkers. This would boost their attention & concentration power.
  9. Drawing & Craft: You can encourage your child’s art. Children have a great imagination, so ask them to draw or create or paint something new which would help them in eye-hand coordination.
  10. Take a virtual field trip: There are many National Park or Aquarium or Farm, which goes live online everyday at a particular time giving a trip to their world. Where your child can learn about different animals, birds & water world, also having farming experience while sitting at home. Such as The Cincinnati Zoo will be live-streaming animals on their Facebook page daily at 3PM. Also adding some of the URL for virtual trip, which are as follows:- Georgia Aquarium, Boston Childrens Museum, Farm Food, African Wildlife & British Museum

Written by Neelima Goswami

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