Like any other citizen, you might also be waiting for the lockdown to get over with. But, have you ever noticed how much your kids are suffering mentally during this lockdown period?. You might be trying to make them secure from coronavirus, by keeping them inside the house. But what did you do to keep them safe from mental health issues caused by isolation and stress?
As per a report published by China, almost 2,000 kids, studying between second and sixth standards, were studied for mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Only 22.6% of kids showed depression symptoms. Another 18.9% reported anxiety symptoms, considering a mean 33.7 days lockdown.
As per government orders, no one is allowed to be outside of their homes during the lockdown period. This rule can be quite easier for adults, as they can engage themselves in various activities or just spend time carelessly. But kids are different. They are currently trapped inside their homes, with no friends, teachers, and even no relatives. Some of these kids might experience an extra burden due to separation from their parent/s as they are quarantined or their parent/s are. As the educational institutes are closed, their daily schedules are getting disrupted, and they have no other place to go, no one to talk, and nothing attractive to do. They don’t even know when everything will get back to normal.
While living in such isolation, kids may encounter multiple psychological issues such as fear, anxiety, worries, stress, depression, lack of sleep, and loss of appetite. They might also develop grief, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and acute stress disorder.
So, being a parent you have to keep your kids safe and secure from the effects of coronavirus, both physically and mentally. Here are some tips to help your kids through the COVID – 19 outbreak.
These tips should be followed by both parents, which means by mom and dad too. Dads normally put all the responsibilities of raising their kids on moms. Those poor souls do all the work at home, and even sometimes work outside too. They take care of the kids and their spouses, both. So, during this crisis, Dads should step forward to share such responsibilities, and support their partners to take necessary steps to make kids secure and safe!
10 Effective Tips for Parents to Save Kids From the Impact of COVID – 19 outbreak
1. Spend quality time together
You need to save some of your time and spend it with each of your kids. Ask them what they want to do and join them in that activity. You and your kids can read books, look at the pictures from your old photo album, mow the lawn, wash your garage, clean the storeroom, play video games, etc.
2. Create a routine
You may create a schedule for them. Create a daily routine by following the same pattern which kids used to follow at school. Set up a timetable for sleeping and waking, meals. reading, activities, playing, and having breaks. Suggest them to maintain a logbook and write daily what they have done or learned in a day. This way it will get easier for them to track their daily progress. Follow this for a week and your kids will start following the schedule automatically in the coming days.
3. Encourage Literacy
During the lockdown, kids may lose some of their educational skills due to lack of practice. Normally they lose track of reading and writing. Due to COVID – 19 outbreaks, all educational institutions are closed. So, the kids might get out of touch with their educational skills initially.
But being a parent, it is your duty to help them with this. While their teaching routine is disrupted, you should take charge and ask them to practice their exercises from their textbook daily, and write a summary of what they have read.
You must look out for these aspects while doing so:
- Let them select their favorite textbook
- Ask them to read aloud
- After reading discuss what they have learned
- Ask them to note down new words from the text, their meaning, and antonyms to increase their vocabulary
- You may take tests to know their progress
- You may play word games with them, using those new words. It’ll increase their memory as well as the stock of words
- Make sure they cover all of the subjects and keep practicing
If they make any mistakes or do not obey you initially, avoid any kind of physical punishment. Do not spank, hit, or abuse them in front of others. It’ll increase the risks of physical and mental injury.
Teachers are for teaching your kids at school. But at home, parents are the ultimate teachers who can help their kids grow in a positive direction.
4. Get close to nature
Being locked in the house sounds too boring. So, you may spend time with the whole family on the terrace, in the balcony, or the home garden without going outside. Your kids should get some fresh air and sunlight to get vitamin D, it is required for their growth.
Kids may spend time in the garden, by watering your plants, counting the flowers, or helping you to clean the weeds. As much as they spend time between the greenery, it will be good for their health. Kids can increase their knowledge about trees, flowers, and fruits from there, and it will help them to cope with this situation.
5. Encourage exercise daily
As per different studies, negative thoughts or feelings can make changes in your kids’ brain chemistry. So, you may encourage your kids to work out daily and can help them to keep themselves physically and mentally fit.
Daily exercising may help the body to maintain a balance between hormones and boost the brain, immune system, and digestive system positively. Apart from that, exercising can psychologically help the brain. So, add at least 30 min into your kids’ daily routine for various cardiac activities such as skipping, squats & lunges, jumping jacks, etc. Dancing is also a great exercise. Usually, dads are quite familiar with gym and workout sessions. But make sure the mom’s exercise too.
Other than working out, tell your kids to try meditation and yoga. Make sure to join them while exercising.
6. Be calm and proactive
Being a parent, you should start a proactive conversation with your kids about the coronavirus outbreak. Teach them how they can keep themselves healthy. Should your kids have a checklist to maintain daily, the list may include:
- Washing hands at regular intervals
- Always wear clean clothes
- Keep your home clean
- Check the stock of generic medicines, tell them usage of these medicines
- What to do if you or any of them show signs of the common cold or flu
You must know what your kids are feeling and what they are thinking about. Let them know it is quite normal to feel stressed in the current situation. Tell them to ask questions and answer them truthfully. Do not make false statements. You should encourage your kids to let you know if they aren’t feeling well all the time. By following these ways parents may teach kids positive living.
7. Support your kids if you have mental health issues
Can your mental health affect your parenting? Yes, it can!
All over the world, 15-23% of kids are living with parents who have mental health disorders. Unfortunately, most of those kids have up to a 50% chance of developing a mental health disorder in the future. Those mental health issues may include anxiety, depression, stress, PTSD, OCD, and many more.
If you have severe mental health issues, you must consult your doctor regularly and take your medications. With proper treatment, you may easily find a solution for chronic depression, anxiety, stress, OCD, and other mental health disorders.
If you are willing to support your kids, then they can also understand your situation. Tell them about your mental health, and what could be the possible symptoms of your illness. Become a good parent and ask your teen to talk to you when needed. If they are hesitant to talk about anything, suggest they talk to the other family members, relatives, or friends.
8. Keep in touch with loved ones
Kids need love, friendship, and care to grow. So, they must get in touch with family members, especially with their grandparents. Kids may also chat face to face with their friends via video chats, or they may use messengers such as FB or WhatsApp. You can guide them to connect with friends and relatives via social media platforms.
9. Teach them self-caring techniques
You should inform your kids about the pandemic. During such a crisis, you should teach them the techniques of self-soothing. Listen to your favorite tunes together, watch movies, or your favorite TV shows while having popcorn and homemade juices. Make them contribute their time and effort into daily activities such as gardening, washing clothes, cleaning up the lawn, painting doors, or helping moms in cooking.
You may also push them to participate in activities such as painting, crafts, and lots of other stuff. These activities can help your kids to reduce stress caused by lockdown isolation.
10. Keep an eye on what they are watching
News channels and social media are spreading awareness about COVID – 19 pandemics. But sometimes they also spread false news and rumors about the situation. Check out what your kids are watching or hearing. Limit the time spent watching TV and surfing through social media. Find out what your kids already know and guide them in the right direction. This is what good parenting is all about.