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Governments shut down schools and colleges to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and to lower the rate of its transmission as the initial phase of their preventive actions. This step was taken to protect our little ones, but this shutdown may have caused stress for our children for being in a closed environment for a longer period of time.
It is our responsibility, being their parents to ensure they feel safe, secured and happy at home. We have to ensure they will grow up to brace this new norm of online classes and social distancing. They have been at home with no outdoor playtime and without meeting other kids of their age for the past couple of months. Their only interaction is with the adults at home and they must be prepared for the new (but temporary) reality. Children learn from their parents and we should take care to not relay our worries and anxiety onto them. We must help our children cope with the stress of this outbreak and take this period in our stride by teaching our kids how to get through tough times.
In stressful environments, a child may show stress by showing below actions:
Try responding to your child’s reactions in a supportive and caring manner. Listen to their concerns and give them extra affection and attention during this time is very important.
This is the best time to be closer with your kids. Avoid separating with them as much as possible and in case you have to be away, try to keep the communication with them via phone call or video call to reassure them that you are with them.
Think of activities that will help you be involved together as a family. Utilize this time to teach children life skills & self-help activities.
Another thing that you can keep a check on is screen time. While you keep an age appropriate quota for screen time, make sure that they use the tech productively to attend virtual classes or to read e-books & to video chat with friends and family. For most of the time though give them reasons to let them unplug & connect with family by having engaging activities at home.
Normal routines have been affected in every household observing social distancing. Parents should set a structured routine for the entire family by creating a timetable of daily activities like fixing a time to wake up, have meals, to play, to study, to go to bed, etc. This will help children become more disciplined.
It is important to address children’s fears in simple words that they can understand and explain to them the importance of staying indoors & social distancing as a precautionary measure. You should also teach them below as part of their lifestyle not just measures for this Covid-19 pandemic:
Also let them know, in a reassuring way, about what could happen if either a family member or the child doesn’t feel well and may have to go to the hospital for some time to get it checked.
The key is to ensure the child doesn’t feel stressed with so many changes happening all at once in their lives and is gradually introduced to the new, and temporary, normal.
Remember you have the gift of time now and the gift of your loved ones around you. Spend quality time with your children and use it to teach them values, to teach them to relax & to pray, to have faith, to feel connected & be grounded.
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