The COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed life as we knew it. Due to the spread of the virus, children across the globe are affected by lockdowns, physical distancing, and countrywide school closures. Some young children and teenagers may be feeling afraid, isolated, bored, and unsure. The anxiety and stress caused by the pandemic’s impact on their loved ones can make them act out or regress to behaviors long outgrown.
Among the changes brought upon by this global event, the parents had to suddenly become schoolteachers as well. They had to work from home while homeschooling their children. On top of that, the additional practices like wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, and self-isolating furthered the inconvenience of this “new normal.”
Now that we are months into the pandemic, with no imminent breakthroughs in sight, how do the parents cope and help their children cope with this situation? We are going to list a few practices and approaches that will help parenting during the pandemic.
Staying Connected Virtually
Physical distancing is necessary, but social connections still have to be maintained. They are the connections and bonding we develop in times of such disasters. Even if you miss visiting your grandparents for Sunday dinner, technology can help you stay connected with your family. It is not actually social distancing; it is physical distancing. That is why it is crucial to spread feelings of hope and connection with each other.
When Not to Use Social Media
Turn off the social networking sites and screens two hours before you go to bed. Besides avoiding the “blue light”, which disrupts your sleep, constant notifications, news, and alerts are also harmful.
Personal hygiene is vital in keeping your family safe. Let your kids choose the the soap or the hand sanitizer. Make the proper hand hygiene an essential practice at your home.
Set Up and Follow a Routine
Our old routines have been interrupted, but we are creating new ones. Kids value structure and predictability, particularly in terms of the routine meal, play, and bath times. Let your child draw part of their schedule.
For parents working from home, set clear rules so that your child knows when and how to interrupt you if needed. Take frequent breaks so that you can do short activities together. Set aside time dedicated solely to your children.
Children tend to lose sleep during stressful times. For younger kids, set a nighttime routine for reading, brushing their teeth, or going to bed. Having a picture of the family by the bedside will make them feel “loved” until dawn. Bedtimes may be slightly different for older kids and teenagers, but it is recommended to keep them within a reasonable range so as not to interfere with the sleep-wake cycle. Less sleep can make learning and emotional processing more difficult.
If possible, try to step out into nature with your kids. Go for a walk, talk, and play. Hashtag #chalkthewalk has become quite popular among families. If you cannot go outside, try workouts for home. Regular physical activities are vital in maintaining good health during the current situation.
Remember Self Care
Maintain a journal, write haikus, create art, develop new hobbies; self-care is equally important. Whatever you find therapeutic, indulge in that constructive activity.
Be a Role Model
This crisis has given the parents a chance to be role models for their children and show them how to deal with adversity. Learning to develop resilience is among the best skills you can teach your children.
Using Positive Discipline
During the current pandemic, everyone is feeling worried and anxious. Young ones may not be able to express their feelings in the words. They are also more likely to react to stress, fear, and anxiety. Older children and teenagers may become irritable if they miss being with their friends or any special events.
Here are some of the ways to deal with your child’s emotions and behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Sometimes children act up because they are bored or do not know what else to do. Find some productive activities for them.
- Ask your children to draw illustrations of how the family is staying safe. Such creative artsy projects are a great way to keep them occupied.
- Reinforcing good behavior and stopping others is a practical approach. Observe good behavior, praise, and point out successes and reasonable attempts. You can help, especially with the older children, by explaining clear expectations.
- Use rewards and privileges that are not usually given to reinforce good behavior such as completing assignments, homework, chores etc.
- Paying attention to good behavior but ignoring minor bad behavior is an effective way to stop it, unless your child is doing something dangerous.
- Using timeouts is a useful discipline tool, especially when you warn your child that there will be a time out if he or she does not stop. Remind them when they are wrong and say it without showing any strong emotions.
We hope this blog helps you better cope with the situation and offer your kids what they need to feel loved, supported, and safe.