In this unprecedented time, people’s regular routines have been interrupted by the COVID-19 virus. Families who have quarantined themselves in their homes might face the challenging task of helping their children cope with a pandemic. Staying for a long period in one place, after all, may take a toll on anyone who is affected by the situation.
As a parent, you might end up overwhelming your kids with a plethora of negative news. On the other hand, excessive positivity might paint an inaccurate picture for your child about the real situation. If you want to carefully tread the line between these two extremes, it would be in your best interest to continue reading.
As a parent, you should be able to let your children know that your family is taking this health crisis seriously, without saying or doing anything that might cause them to feel alarmed. Gently but constantly remind them to wash their hands thoroughly to prevent contracting the virus, or any kind of bacteria or pathogen. As much as possible, avoid engaging in any kind of outdoor activities with your child.
Physical health is not the only thing you should look out for, as this pandemic can also greatly affect your child’s mental health. Apart from the safety methods mentioned above, you can also contact the available mental health service hotlines in the country, should your children need expert advice.
Another way for you to help your child cope is by communicating with them effectively. You should be able to create a safe space for your child to open up and discuss their daily feelings and emotions. For example, if you’re working from home, you can have a sit-down with your child to talk about how they’re feeling for the day.
Furthermore, you can also use this opportunity to inform them about what has been happening around the world. A trick you can do is to use palatable language which your child can easily digest and understand without feeling too overwhelmed about the situation. When they ask questions, answer them as honestly as you can, as this gives them reassurance. Becoming dismissive will not only discourage your child from approaching you in the future, but it might also make them become reclusive and withdrawn.
By validating their emotions, you’re letting them know that they can always go to you whenever they’re experiencing trouble or feeling uncertainty about the situation.
Every day, there is always some new development about the COVID-19 virus. Children who are frequently exposed to this kind of information might end up feeling overwhelmed about all these developments.
One way to assist your children is by regulating their media consumption. Though watching the news keeps them informed, they don’t have to stick to their television or computer screens all day. Try to redirect their attention by suggesting other activities such as cooking, reading an age-appropriate book, or watching a movie instead.
This does not necessarily mean that you should prevent them from watching television – only make sure they’re getting the right balance of fact as well as downtime and relaxation.
Last but not the least, sticking to a routine has significant benefits in helping your child deal with the pandemic.
One way you can do this is by regularly waking them up at a reasonable time. Sit together as a family and have your meals together. You might also want to ask your children to help you with simple chores such as wiping the dishes after they’re washed.
Your child might struggle with the idea in the beginning, but sticking to a routine helps bring back some sense of normalcy to your home. This practice might also help them keep their mind off the tragic developments happening around the world, even if for just a brief moment.
Helping children cope during a pandemic can be challenging because they might not necessarily know how to process their emotions well. With the arrival of negative news almost day in and out, it can be quite normal for your child to feel down and confused about the situation.
As a parent, always ensure that you’re encouraging your children to reach out to you. Make it a point to reassure them without compromising accurate information about the developments of the pandemic.