Mummy! “Why did the schools close down? I miss my friends! I just want to go back to them.”
“What does quarantine mean?”.
“I do not understand what is happening. I am scared.”
“On TV they were saying old people are at risk. Will Dadaji be OK”
Social Distancing. Quarantine. Self-isolation. Sanitizers. Lockdown.
In the last few weeks, terms like these have become a regular part of our vocabulary. School going children’s routine has had to undergo a lot of change as schools have closed down. Because of the rapid spread of COVID-19, many children who were excited to go for summer trips in the summer break (with their schools or their families), are now stuck at home. They are often found ranting about how much they miss their friends, their school and surprisingly even their teachers. Schools kept them busy and they are free now. Online classes are being conducted by schools (so that children do not lag behind in their syllabus) but this does not satisfy their need to socialize. They are cooped up at home, and they don’t like it, This gives rise to them becoming worried about their and their family’s safety (because they may not understand all of what’s going on ), becoming cranky and difficult (because they can’t go out and run about and meet /play with friends), lethargic and generally difficult.
Here are a few tips that might help your children cope with what’s going on in the world:
- Stay calm- The first step you need to take is to keep yourself calm and peaceful. Always remember that your child is going to react to both what you say and how you say it. They’re going to pick up cues from your conversations with others. If you panic, they’re going to panic, so you need to keep yourself as calm and composed as you can.
- Limit media exposure- Avoid an excess of TV watching or social media interaction on the subject of COVID If you have a need-to-know, do it in the morning or evening or any other time they are not around.
- Create a routine for the day to take their mind off the situation- Keeping or creating new family routines, such as learning activities, meal times, chores, relaxation, helps children predict what’s planned, allowing them to feel in control of the situation and thus take their minds away from what’s going on around the world.
- Make them feel safe- Share information in the most concrete way possible. Talk to them about how you and the other adults around them are helping to keep them safe. Ask them what they know about the virus and what they’ve heard from friends, media, etc. Encourage them to ask any questions they have, rather than going to the internet or any other source.
- Spend quality time- We have all wanted to spend more time with our families- now’s the opportunity. Even if you are working from home make sure you eat meals together and make time to laugh and play together- there is lots to do such as puzzles, reading, music, board games, cooking, movie nights – the list is actually endless.
- Connect them to their friends through phone and video calls. When you organize video calls with family and your friends include them as you would if your guests actually came home. It’s refreshing to see familiar and different faces at the end of the day. Encourage them to play online games such as online Ludo, Uno or any other of their choice, so that they can play with each other and at the same time maintain the much-needed social distancing.
Although we do not know for how long this lock-down or pandemic will last, make sure that your children are physically and emotionally taken care of. And make sure they know that they are safe.