Fear, anxiety, desperation have all gripped families during this COVID-19 phase, being held up at home, it is tough for families to maintain a sense of calm. With kids in the home, safety being the main issue, it is prime that we manage children’s behaviour. It is important to have a candid talk on the situation in a language they understand and teach them to accept the phase that all are battling.
You need to reassure your child that the family together can go through this and come out as a stronger entity. Some certain tips for managing kids:
- Have a frank talk and converse during dining time when the entire family is together. Address their fears openly, explain to them the importance of hygiene, hand washing, distancing and staying home as a precautionary measure for maintaining health. Talk therapy is the best way to streamline their thoughts and offer that dose of security and assurance as a concerned parent.
- Use touch therapy. Kiss, hug, pat, console your child. These expressions of care will release endorphins in the body and release that feel-good hormone, making your kid feel valued and cherished, also increasing their esteem and keeping them motivated.
- Soak in the sun or fresh air. The problem being indoors is that you will be devoid of Vitamin D and the freshness of the air. Should you have a balcony or terrace, let the kids spend some time in the morning sun and inhale that natural freshness. You can encourage them to exercise, run, walk, or just watch outside. Elder kids can be coaxed into yoga and meditation to bring a sense of serenity in their minds.
- The older kids or teens may be feeling disconnected from their peers or friends circle with whom they used to usually hang out or spend weekends. Encourage them to get in touch on WhatsApp groups, video conference calls or social sites to share ideas, discuss and maintain the distant friendship. Let them have some online time and feel in that virtual connection.
- Encourage them to connect and check on the safety and health of their grandparents, aunts, uncles. Set phone reminders to check on relatives for their well-being. Connecting with loved ones, and exchanging greetings, messages of concern will have a positive effect on one’s mood.
- Get the kids into creative activities- be it painting, craft/artwork, cooking a novel dish, baking a cake, dancing to music, aerobics, give scope to their talents indulging in their hobbies and interests. You can play some good movies, cartoons, stories based on their age criteria so that they can learn some dialogues, laugh and gulp some healthy snacks. Schedule their time table for school work and assignments as well.
- Involve kids into house errands, such as cleaning, doing the laundry, cleaning the dishes, it is a way to manage time and keep oneself occupied. Give your children and teens simple jobs with responsibilities. Just make sure it is something they are able to do. And praise them when they do it!
- Have a bedtime routine and inculcate a habit to chant a holy prayer before sleeping invoking graces of the almighty to gather strength and hope for the new tomorrow.
- Certainly, kids will be anxious and worried during their pandemic, yearning to have their normal life back. Younger children –toddlers may not be able to express or describe their feeling and may lash out with tantrums, irritation or just become silent or dull in demeanour. Spanking, hitting, and other forms of Physical punishment can increase aggression in children over time, failing to teach them to behave or practice self-control. Refrain from such practices and be patient. Use the motivational style of rewarding good behaviour with a bar of chocolate or and comfort them when in distress. Remember security is a feeling that comes from the home, and that will help them in regulating their emotions and sense of development. Listen to your kids attentively, offer that much-needed reassurance and solace. Always teach them to express their feelings in a healthy manner.
Althaf Ali & Alvina Clara
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