April and May are months when kids in India enjoy their summer vacations. Exams are over, schools are shut and it’s the time to play with friends, go on family trips and have a lot of fun. However, this summer, things look a bit different. The situation is far from ideal, it is scary.

How to Protect and Support Kids During the Coronavirus Crisis - Acko

The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic has made life difficult for people across the world. While scientists are busy finding a cure for the disease, people are advised to engage in Social Distancing and stay in their homes during the Lockdown. These can be frustrating times for the kids, and they need to be handled with care to not only safeguard them from the virus but also to support them during these challenging times.

Tips to Protect and Support Kids:

Coronavirus spreads rapidly and can be deadly. With no cure in sight, people are asked to maintain Social Distancing, wash hands regularly, and refrain from touching their face. These three things can be difficult for children to comply with.

They will feel the need to play with their friends and usually, they are not great at staying hygienic on their own. This is where you as a parent, elder sibling, or a guardian need to be a role model and help them through these tough times.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has shared some articles on their website about supporting kids during the Coronavirus. The following section is inspired by that.

1)  Set Hygiene Expectations:

Inform kids about how the virus spreads and how it can be avoided. Encourage them to wash hands with soap and tell them not to touch their faces. Educate them about Social Distancing and how they can help the community by staying home.

2)  Educate and Explore:

There is a lot of unverified news being circulated on media and social media platforms about the virus. Kids can stumble on such misinformation and create a wrong impression of the virus in their minds. Educated them about the virus and explore the answers to the questions you cannot answer by relying on information shared by bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO).

3)  Stay One Step Ahead:

Explain to kids that someone they know might catch the virus. The virus can affect friends, family members or even themselves. Encourage them to be vocal if they feel discomfort in breathing or if they are not feeling right. Early action can help reduce health risks.

4)  Set a Routine:

With no school, no outdoor playtime, and a restriction on stepping out, kids can be disillusioned. Some schools might be functional and teach via online classes, which is again a new idea. Creating some sort of daily routine for kids can keep them engaged. The routine can be a mix of activities that are educational, recreational, and those involving helping family members with some activities like basic cooking and cleaning.

Also, read: Coronavirus Helpline Number, India

5)  Empathize with Kids:

Listen to what kids have to share. Let them express their emotions without any restrictions. Missing out on regular life due to Lockdown and Social Distancing can be a major issue for kids. Being unable to enjoy the summer vacations the way they would have liked to can be disappointing for them. Empathize and offer your support whenever possible.

6)  Strengthen Your Bond:

You can spend quality time with children and explore opportunities to connect with them at an emotional level and strengthen your bond. Game nights and cooking special meals as a family can be a welcome distraction from the negative thoughts.

7)  Limit Screen Time:

While it can be a good idea to use gadgets and screens to reduce stress and connect with friends via video call, there must be a check on the kids’ screen exposure. Discuss this with children and limit their screen time.

8)  Manage Anxiety:

You as an adult might face anxiety issues or find it difficult to manage your anger. This can create a bad impact on children’s mentality. Monitor how you behave. Do not burden children with your fears. Create a safe and secure environment for your kids by being right by their side.

Also, read: Ways To Remain Healthy During Social Distancing

Frequently Asked Questions:

Go through the following section to know some frequently asked questions regarding caring for children during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

Where can I know more about healthy parenting tips during the ongoing crisis?

You can read an article about healthy parenting during the Coronavirus pandemic by clicking here.

My child is five years old, can he be affected by the virus?

Yes, children of all ages can catch the virus.

Is it possible to recover after catching the virus?

Yes, you can recover after catching the virus.

How can I educate my kids about Coronavirus in an interesting way?

Stories can educate kids interestingly and engagingly. The Government of India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has come up with a comic book on their website. You can use that to educate your kids about the virus. The book can be downloaded by clicking here.

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References:

  • Tips for parenting during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, UNICEF, https://www.unicef.org/coronavirus/covid-19-parenting-tips
  • 6 ways parents can support their kids through the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, UNICEF, https://www.unicef.org/coronavirus/6-ways-parents-can-support-their-kids-through-coronavirus-covid-19
  • Kids, vaayu and corona: who win the fight?, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare Government of India, https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/Corona_comic_PGI.pdf

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