Due to COVID-19 pandemic, children all around the world have to stay with their families at home for a long time. Being away from their friends and attending online classes instead of going to a regular school may affect their mental health to a great extent. Moreover, even some visible negative changes in their behavior have been observed by many parents, such as nightmares, tantrums, stomach aches, meltdowns, fighting, and crying.
This global pandemic seriously affects kids and leave some of them feeling insecure, lonely, and afraid. Numerous thoughtful parents are seeking help on the Internet, visiting related websites, such as parentcenternetwork.org. It is always a good thing to look for support when you are not able to cope with a particular situation by yourself.
In order to make this situation a bit easier, we have prepared a short list of beneficial tips that will be useful in taking care of your kids’ mental health during the lockdown. Check them out!
Understand Their Concerns
Psychologists say that playing with kids aged three to seven is the best way for a parent to check on their mental health. In this way, you can find out what your child is concerned about without creating a serious and stressful atmosphere. Observing games that kids are playing can tell you a lot about what they are thinking. It can even happen that a child starts referring to particular concerns directly – if that happens, try to ask gentle questions, in order to find out more about the problem without stressing the kid out.
Keep the Routines
It is advisable to stick to your regular small routines throughout the day so that the children could have a sense of normality. For example, they should keep on going to sleep and waking up at similar hours as they did before the lockdown. They must understand that these are not holidays and they still have to study.
You can create some new routines to keep as well. One of the essential activities that should be included in them is contacting friends and family. Although we cannot meet them in person, fortunately, we have video calls, making it possible for us to hear and see each other. It can reduce the feeling of longing at least to a certain extent, and it is significant for mental health for sure.
In the case of some families, homeschooling with fixed timetables of lessons may work well at the beginning, but in other cases, it can get more challenging. However, you should not feel discouraged – keep in mind that a sustainable work-and-play routine can be achieved over time.
Explain the Situation Gently
In such an untypical situation, it is understandable that children will ask you a lot of questions. Do not try to avoid them or postpone them for later because it may make children feel worried and come up with their own explanations that can be more frightening than the reality. Explain it to them that it is a serious problem, but we will not be struggling with it forever – sooner or later, the situation will calm down, and we will be able to get back to our normal lives.
Keep in mind that letting kids see you checking the latest updates on coronavirus may not be the best idea – the reports may seem too terrifying for the little ones. It is better to adjust the information they get to their age and level of mental development, so as not to make them too stressed out.
Also, you should emphasize all the precautions that need to be taken, like social distancing, wearing masks outside, and washing their hands often. You can even make them feel a sense of a mission, and tell them that by staying home and taking care of their hygiene, they are like superheroes from the TV series and comic books – they are helping to save the world.
Now that your children are spending a lot of time with you at home, you should be more creative, so that they would not get bored quickly. If you run out of ideas, you can also look for some inspirations online. A lot is going on the Internet nowadays – for example, you can find various workshops, dance classes, language lessons, etc.
You should stay creative not only when it comes to free time, but also with homeschooling. For example, you can include learning into daily activities. While teaching kids about proportions and measures, involve cooking equipment and such products like flour, milk, or sugar. In order to help children memorize foreign language vocabulary, use it to refer to the items and activities that they have at home. Learning through experience may get much more successful than just studying from a textbook.
Overall, to keep your kids in good mental health, do not let them think that it is a horrible situation with no way out. Stay positive yourself and share that attitude with your children. Make this uncertain time entertaining and self-developing for your kids no matter what!