6 tips to ensure your child’s well-being at home during COVID-19

After months of COVID curbs, many parents think that their children have adjusted to life at home. But the truth might be far from it. 

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With limited access to friends and the outdoors, children can develop high levels of frustration and anxiety. They may not voice it, but it shows up in the form of clinginess, bedwetting, agitation, or withdrawal from their bubbly self. All of these are signs of distress, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), that parents must act on. 

To make things easier, experts at the MoHFW, as well as UNICEF, have shared many strategies that can help protect a child’s well-being during COVID-19. 

Here’s a quick summary of what they said:

Be calm around children

Parents can transfer their own anxieties to their kids, so it’s important to watch what you say. To not plant any seeds of panic, avoid serious health discussions in front of your child. Parents should also take care of their own well-being, to avoid losing composure at home.

Limit media intake, but be honest about queries

Longer access to phones and TV has kept children in constant touch with bad news, and this can develop exaggerated fears in their mind. 

To avoid this, parents can cut down on their kids’ screen time and answer any queries they have about the pandemic. It’s important to be honest and factual here, but do strike a balance on how much you’re sharing. If they enjoy reading, you can show them reliable sources like the WHO, CDC and MoHFW websites. 

Have healthy routines in place

Many parents may be working longer hours, but it should not disrupt a child’s day-to-day life. If required, a new household routine can be created. This should include clear timings for studying/online classes, playing and exercise, and interacting with friends and relatives on the phone. Mealtimes and bedtime should also be fixed. Keeping busy helps children maintain a sense of normalcy, allowing them to focus on themselves. 

Create more time to play and relax

It’s a good idea to give children extra care and attention right now. Playtime is essential for their brain development, and helps reduce stress. It also improves a child’s physical, social and emotional skills, and makes them better thinkers. 

To ensure children still have this outlet, parents should carve out some time every day to try fresh activities as a family. This can include board games, puzzles, edutainment websites, make-believe scenarios, yoga or anything else that calms and expands their mind. 

Avoid separation from parents

Separation anxiety is common in young children, but fades away when older. The pandemic, however, can cause it to return. Parents who are essential workers may be busier than ever, and see less of their children. A parent might also fall sick and have to isolate themselves, or have to leave to take care of a sick relative. In these times, it’s important to have the other parent or another caregiver spend more time with the child. Staying connected virtually can help them feel secure during a parent’s absence. 

Be supportive of your child’s concerns

What might seem trivial to you may be a huge problem in your child’s mind. Do not dismiss their worries, and listen patiently. Children may have absorbed a lot of untrue or fear-mongering content during COVID-19, and parents must understand their worries to reassure them. 

We hope you and your family stay safe and healthy at this time. Have a good week!