COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our lives in unimaginable ways. Extended lock-downs, prolonged working hours and the lack of schedule can have a huge impact in our lives. In all this, the most impacted are our children.
Its been over 7 months since the schools have been shut and children have had restricted outdoor activity, zero outdoor activity to be precise. This can have an impact on their mental health and cause anxiety and irritability. Children don’t see a national emergency as a national emergency, they see it as a family emergency. They take cues from the way parents and family members react to a particular situation.
It is easier for an adult to understand the current situation and not step out of the house. While children develop drastic behavioral habits of throwing tantrums very often and being stubborn. Having had routines and schedules for a healthy life – like play in the park, cycling, skating and running kept a check on every little thing, keeping them hale and hearty. With the pandemic, they are confined to four walls and have to play with the same set of people, same room or living room every single day. It is impossible to imagine the level of frustration the child must be going through, without understanding why.
Here are a few cues to see if your child is doing mentally well, or needs help:
- See if your child is over sleeping or not sleeping at all
- Often irritated
- Withdrawing self from a social interaction
- Constant nightmares
- Lack of concentration
- Clinging to parents more then usual
- Unnecessary crying
- Sudden violence
Tips to keep the child mentally healthy
- Set up a schedule / routine
A fixed routine helps them manage their time in a better way and also it teaches them discipline and social interaction. Lockdowns and extended stay at homes have messed up the schedules completely. They either do too much of something or nothing at all. To improve this, there needs to be balance. A fixed schedule lets them know what to do next and also mentally prepare for that activity. With this they will also be able to help parents with their chores at home.
- Explain the facts and give all the information
Explaining all the facts about the situation and build awareness. It is also important to not overdo this exercise, such as avoid discussing the increasing deaths and encourage discussing preventive measures.
- Engage them in activities and play
The best way to engage children is to keep them busy with chores and this also allows the parent to spend enough time with the child.
While we try wade our way through this mess, let’s all stay safe and healthy. We will get through this.