In pandemic situations, it is important to note that children can perceive nervousness and anxiety which cause them to feel overwhelmed and stressed. Depending on their age, the response may vary. Some children may become over-attached while some may withdraw, angry, be agitated, and some may start wetting the bed. Here are some tips to keep children feel safe during the pandemic.
1. Address Children’s Fears
Recognizing your child’s feelings and being there for them will help ease their anxiety or frustration on certain things by using guiding questions since this pandemic is a huge shift in their lives and physical connection. They need clear and age-appropriate information on how to reduce the risk of being infected by the disease.
2. Social Distancing Vs. Social Isolation
Social distancing should not mean social isolation. Keeping in touch with their loved ones even the safe and physical visits are not possible, we can substitute with social connectedness in a creative way for them to stay connected like video chats.
Children need time to engage in play and other joyful experiences without thinking about the pandemic. Here are some safe activities parents can do with their children.
Outdoor Play (Mini camping, Gardening, or Swimming)
Brainstorming Creative Idea
Art, Music & Games
4. Healthy Routines
During the pandemic, it is crucial to structure the day with different routines so that children can create a sense of order in their daily activities. They should follow a general order such as:
Wake-up routines, getting dressed, breakfast, and some active play in the morning, followed by quiet play and snack to transition to virtual learning schedule.
Lunch, chores, exercise, some online social time with friends, and then homework
Bedtime reading (Book, Brush & Bed Routine)
5. Positive Discipline
Young children are also anxious and stressed like adults, but they may not be able to express or describe their feeling. Some kids are more likely to act out their stress and fear through their behavior to seek attention. There are some ways to help children manage their emotions and behavior.
Special Time In: Even with everyone home together 24/7, set aside some special time with your children including playing their favorite game, cooking, or reading together by letting your children choose the activity.
Redirect Bad Behavior: Keeping the child busy with various activities at home will help reduce their stress, worry, and misbehavior at home.
Direct Your Attention: Attention is a powerful tool to reinforce good behaviors. Parents should notice the good behavior, point it out, and praise their children for the job well done.
Use Rewards & Privileges: Parents can set expectations and reward the children with even small tasks such as completing schoolwork, chores, getting along well with siblings, etc.
Avoid Physical Punishment: Hitting and other forms of physical punishment are not effective. We, as parents, may take away a children’s sense of safety at home, and fail to train our children to practice self-control by showing them this punishment.
-By Leakhena Kong