The COVID-19 cases are spiraling up in the country and there is only clutter and chaos everywhere with people looking for ways and means to somehow overcome this extremely difficult phase. According to Dr. Pritam Chandak Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist , Synapse Mind Care Nagpur, “At a time like this, not just physical but mental well-being is also equally important. Our healthcare system is downright collapsing as there is a shortage of hospital beds, plasma, oxygen cylinders, medicines needed to treat COVID etc. In spite of these challenges, we need to keep going strong as there isn’t any other way around this. Even children, who weren’t getting much affected when the deadly virus broke out last year, are getting affected now during this second phase. Hence, it is our responsibility to take care of physical as well as the mental health of the children during this tough time.”
Here are some suggestions to take care of mental health of your children..
Provide Assurance Whenever Needed
It is extremely important to reassure your children. Listen to their concerns and try answering their queries related to the coronavirus outbreak. Spend quality time with them and give them the attention they need. Reading them stories to put them to sleep will make them feel loved.
- Keep Them in Contact With Their Friends
Physical distancing from friends can be a cause of distress for the children. Encourage them to talk to their friends, cousins and loved ones by calling them up or through video calls or voice calls. You can also involve your children and their friends in some fun activities or games which they can do together by staying connected virtually.
- Manage Your Child’s Anxiety
It is normal for your child to become anxious at this time. Look out for the emotional cues in your child and talk to them regarding the same. Avoid being judgemental when they express their feelings. Do not avoid their questions related to the COVID-19 or speak to them harshly. This will only lead to increase in their fear and anxiety. Instead, make them understand that things will get better soon if we lake proper care. Remember that this is a very new situation for your children and do not get irritated with them.
- Provide Them Clear Information
It isn’t advisable to provide children with a lot of reports and news related to the coronavirus pandemic. However, it is important to give them correct information as to what is happening around the world. Give them proper facts in a way that they can understand so that they do not remain confused, as this may increase their anxiety.
- Engage Them in Indoor Activities
During this time, children may get easily bored. Hence, involve them in indoor games to cut down the boredom. You can also make their learning fun by giving them puzzles to solve and teaching them crafts. Encourage them to pick up a hobby. Involve the children in some stretching exercises, yoga or dancing which they will enjoy. You can also involve them in doing simple household chores to keep them engaged through the day.
- Make a Routine of Learning at Home
At this time. when schools and colleges are shut, continue to encourage them to learn things at home. The current scenario shouldn’t deter them from learning. Ensure that they have a regular habit of studying by giving them small assignments related to their lessons. Check the assignments to understand their progress.
Teach your children to Covid appropriate behaviour regularly.
Above all, take good care of your children’s health. Make sure that they practise hand washing, and cover their mouth and nose with bent elbow when they cough or sneeze, wear a appropriate mask. Meanwhile keep an eye out for any symptoms of COVID-19 and seek medical help immediately if necessary. It is always best to have a plan in advance, in case the child falls sick.