Lockdowns and Social Distancing amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic have halted people’s daily lives. During such challenging times, one needs to look after the young ones. These times can be distressing for children and you as a parent can play a crucial role in helping them through this phase.
Kids and teenagers might find it extremely difficult to comply with the restrictions put forth during the global pandemic. It can get tough for children to stay away from playgrounds and from their friends. Here’s an article that will help you with some tips for healthy parenting during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Healthy Parenting Tips:
The World Health Organization has recognized the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic and the related situations can take a toll on children. Therefore, they have come up with an advisory for parents to ensure constructive interaction with children on their website. Here’s an overview.
1) Spend Quality Individual Time:
The time of Lockdown and Social Distancing can be used by parents to spend some quality individual time with children. Just as you might be dealing with not stepping out for work, they might face challenges related to not going to school and not playing outside.
Dedicate a fixed amount of time to spend with your child. If you have more than one child then carve out that time for each child. You can include it in your daily schedule. This time can be 20 minutes as well as an hour, it’s up to you. Children might look forward to spending this daily quality time with their parents.
It is a good idea to ask your child about what they feel like doing. You can pitch in if they run out of ideas. However, if they come up with an idea and it falls within the Social Distancing framework, then you can go ahead with it.
Babies and toddlers might be oblivious to the outside situation. Irrespective, you can spend quality time with them by playing with blocks, singing nursery rhymes, and entertaining them with facial and hand gestures.
For younger children, you can help them out with some school assignments or by teaching them their favourite subjects. You can convert daily chores such as basic cooking and cleaning into a game to make them into enjoyable activities for the children. You can also read a book to your young child or have fun while sketching and drawing.
Speak to teenagers about their favourite topic such as sports, celebrities, etc. You can also exercise together at home.
2) Stay Positive:
It can get difficult to stay positive and cheerful as a parent if your child gets restless. However, shouting at them for misbehaving is not the right option and is not going to help either the parent or the child. This is where staying positive and ensuring positive reinforcement can prove helpful.
Focus on positive reinforcement while giving instructions to children. Instead of saying ‘don’t do this’, consider saying ‘please do this’.
Speak to your children in a calm tone. Shouting will lead to an increase in anger and stress, escalating the situation more and making it worse.
Be realistic with your expectations. For example, expecting your child to stay quiet for four hours is unreal. Requesting them to stay quiet for half an hour while you are completing office work on a video call seems reasonable.
Acknowledge good behaviour by praising them. This will not only be reassuring for them but also encourage them to behave well.
3) Create A Schedule:
People’s schedules have gone for a toss. With offices, schools, gyms, and other such places being shut, there is no sense of routine. As parents, creating a schedule for yourselves and your kids will be helpful.
Children are used to time-tables. They abide by that in their schools. You can create a daily time-table for your children. Remember to incorporate their ideas and their interests in the daily schedule. Be flexible with the time-table and don’t make it like a strict regimen. Make it fun.
Ensure children perform some sort of physical exercises daily. Include it in their daily schedule.
Children often look up to their parents. If you stick to your schedule and routine, chances are bright that the children will follow suit.
Gamification can help infuse some amount of fun in mundane activities like washing hands. Convert washing hands and not touching your face into a game for children.
Also, read: Coronavirus Helpline Number
4) Be Proactive:
Beyond a point, children will break the disciplinary shackles and misbehave. They will make mischief. This might anger a parent and make the entire situation a lot grim. Or else, you can detect bad behaviour early.
If you pay close attention, you can come to know that a child is about to reach the boiling point. If you can detect their restlessness at an early stage, you can distract them by involving them in a fun activity.
If you as a parent feel like shouting at your child for bad behaviour, pause for a few seconds. Slower your breathing by taking deep breaths. And then convey your message in a calm voice instead of shouting.
Explain to your child the consequence of displaying bad behaviour. Show them their options. If you have to engage them in a consequence, choose a reasonable one. For example, no TV/mobile for a few hours seems a lot doable than no TV/mobile for three days.
After the consequence is done with, present your child with an opportunity to do something good. Acknowledge their effort and praise them for their good behaviour.
Do not burden children with complex tasks. Give them simple tasks and reward them after they complete them. Gamification and positive reinforcement can come in handy to curb bad behaviour.
5) Stay Calm:
Staying calm can be a challenge when you are bombarded with negative news regarding COVID-19 from all directions. Parents need to stay calm and take care of children without panicking.
It is crucial to stay aware but do not get burdened under all the news. Stay away from it if it gets overwhelming.
It is important to take a break and relax. You have your office work, housework, caring for children and the elders, and it is not easy. You deserve a quiet ‘me time’ during the day and make time for it so that you can stay calm.
Listen to what your kids have to share with you. Sometimes, all they need is someone who can hear their stories.
6) Inform About COVID-19:
Children are curious by nature. They might be more curious to know about what’s keeping them home and you can inform your children about COVID-19.
Be honest about the situation in your city and convey it appropriately to your children. The intention is to inform them and not scare them.
They might have already heard the news about the pandemic in some form or the other. Listen to their queries and answer them calmly. Keep your child’s age and maturity level in mind while explaining the situation.
It is alright if you are unable to answer any question. Do not share false information. Rely on the right authorities for your news. End your COVID-19 discussion session with your child on a positive note.
Also, read: Ways To Remain Healthy During Social Distancing
Frequently Asked Questions:
Here’s a list of common questions surrounding parenting during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stories are a good way of explaining things. Here’s a story shared on the World Health Organization’s website. This link will take you to the page from where you can know more about the storybook.
Yes, children of all ages can be affected by COVID-19. Therefore, it is necessary to take all the necessary precautions.
Major precautions for children as well as adults include Social Distancing, washing hands regularly, avoiding touching your face, and staying hygienic.
Yes, people can recover from the virus.
- All About The Novel Coronavirus and COVID-19
- How To Receive Free COVID-19 Consultation Online
- Coronavirus Testing Labs In India
- Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Advocacy, World Health Organization, https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/healthy-parenting
- HealthyAtHome – Healthy parenting, World Health Organization, https://www.who.int/news-room/campaigns/connecting-the-world-to-combat-coronavirus/healthyathome/healthyathome—healthy-parenting
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