Whilst the season of COVID-19 is tough on all of us, it is easy to forget a population that has also had to deal with the upheaval of change, our children. We cannot underestimate the effect it may have on them. Their schools and kindergartens have closed. Their sports and activities have been stopped. They can’t have playdates with their friends, visit their grandparents or even play at their favourite parks. Here are some ways to comfort and calm your kids during this difficult situation.
Be honest: It is best to be honest with your children and use language that they understand when explaining coronavirus and its effects. There are plenty of helpful videos online to assist you with this if you are having trouble. Play School has also done a special episode explaining COVID-19, social distancing and how to properly wash your hands.
Routine and events and home: Routine helps children feel secure. It need not be detailed, just a guideline for the new life at home. If you can schedule home ‘events’ on the calendar, in lieu of the usual things that have been cancelled, that will also give the kids something to look forward to each day.
Get moving: Moving our bodies is a great way to release tension that has built up in our body. It might be harder to convince the kids to move, especially if their most loved sports don’t translate to self isolation life. But, don’t despair. Their exercise could be as simple as: doing a dance in the kitchen, participating in a kids’ sports video online or playing tag outside.
Quality time: It is no mean feat to have quality time with your kids, especially if you still need to do paid work, household duties, check in on older relatives and deal with your own stress. Whether you set aside an hour or so each day, eat meals together or lie with them until they sleep, it will be worth the effort to spend a few moments focusing on them and making them feel heard and loved.
Gratitude: Take time at dinner or bedtime to talk about each family member’s favourite part of the day and about something or someone they are grateful for. In these challenging times, it is important to find the good, no matter how small. Studies show that by tapping into our gratitude regularly, we can train ourselves to see the positives.
Above all, you know your kids better than anyone else and what helps to calm them. Do whatever you have to do to make them feel secure and to encourage hope.
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