For children, as for adults, the COVID-19 pandemic poses a threat to both physical and mental health. It has forced children to stay at home, kept them from meeting their friends, going out to a playground, and, most importantly, going to school. It is doubly traumatic for them, because they might be unable to fully understand the need for this seclusion, and this non-comprehension might cause anxiety, irritability, and other symptoms. As your kids navigate this school year with the same uncertainties as to the last, here’s what you can do to bring some normalcy to their lives.
Frame a daily routine adapted to the interests of the child and ensure this schedule is adhered to. This should include family time for socialising and interaction, play, age-appropriate exercises that the child enjoys, creative activities and family meals, to list a few elements. Says Jyothi Sharma, mother of two children aged four and two, “We believe that the child learns not just curriculum, but also discipline and schedule. Right now, their schedule has been destroyed, and they have absolutely no physical activity due to the pandemic.” Sharma adds that fixed schedules for kids work particularly well for nuclear families that have little or no support; parents can then plan their work and home chores accordingly.
Kanchan Rai, mental and emotional wellbeing coach, and founder of Let Us Talk based out of New Delhi, avers that as much as parents are making the effort to restore a planned routine to keep kids occupied, it is also vital to give importance to their mental wellness and to seek expert help if you feel your child needs it. Work to help the child develop the resilience to cope with all that life throws at them and grow into well-rounded healthy adults. “Factors like feeling loved, trusted and understood, having a sense of belonging in their family, and being raised in a safe and cultured environment can help the child stay emotionally fit,” she says.
It is essential to talk to the children about the pandemic situation in a way they can understand. While they should be apprised of the basic facts of the disease and the safety precautions, care should also be exercised to not let them be overwhelmed by too much information. “Discussions about deaths or serious illnesses among family members due to COVID-19 would impact the child adversely, and this might sometimes require specialist intervention by a child psychiatrist to be dealt with,” says Dr Aravind S, Consultant – Paediatrics and Neonatology, MGM Healthcare, Chennai.
Engage And Interact
It is important to listen to your child’s perceptions and worries and […]