Beating the COVID-19 blues when you have children

Beating the COVID-19 blues when you have children

Health & Lifestyle

SHALINI SRIDHAR

SHALINI SRIDHAR

2 May 2020, 12:34 — 6 min read

So, there you have it. We are well into a month of quarantine and already this is becoming our usual norm. To be honest, I have been quite enjoying this and I find myself discovering new things. Yes, we really didn’t need to visit malls and go to the cinema when we can entertain ourselves at home just fine! But how about our children?

When the lockdown was first announced, a lot of us, especially parents of small children (including me!) started getting a bit nervous. Suddenly everything changed in a blink of an eye. When we as mature adults are still comprehending the events unfolding around us, just imagine what our kids are going through.

 

We might be doing everything we can to keep our children well fed and fit but are we looking into keeping them emotionally healthy too? The normal routines that they usually followed everyday was unceremoniously thrown astray. No friends to play with. No parks to visit. No school. Being stuck at home and having only adults for company. They watch when you talk about the virus. They see the fear and restlessness that hangs in the air. They know something is going on and it is not good.

Some tips that I found useful over the past few weeks:

Talk to your kids about the virus

First off, there is nothing wrong in sitting with your kids and giving them an explanation about what is happening around us. Depending on the age of your kid, it is a good idea to talk to them in a way they understand the current situation. Recently I found some animated videos online made especially for kids that described what viruses are and how we need to take care of ourselves.  Kids will feel more involved and definitely appreciated. Remember that this is a great learning opportunity for them and us as parents too. 

We might be doing everything we can to keep our children well fed and fit but are we looking into keeping them emotionally healthy too?

 

Set a new routine

If you have not already doing so - setting a routine is the most emotionally feel good activity we can do for our kids. When kids have a set pattern that they follow every day, they are less stressed and are more productive later. Of course, now that some routines could have changed suddenly due to the current circumstances, quickly adjusting to the situation to chart a new pattern is beneficial. Set aside time slots for the day and week - say for example an hour of physical exercise, time for play and learning etc. 

Engage them in constructive activities

Now that both parents are at home in most households - there are A TON of activities that you can do as a family. It’s an amazing opportunity to reconnect with one another.  Instead of feeling cramped and woeful about being stuck at home, we can change the attitude to say we are loving being at home.

Get your kid involved in meaningful and mindful fun activities. There is no dearth of activities available online. Based on your kids age, search for things you can do at home. How about some fun science experiments? Maybe show them the inner workings of your car or teach them some basic cooking skills? If you have space outside, get some chalk and ask your kids to write on the pavement or learn a new language.  There is no end to creativity!

Educate and learn

To avoid kids forgetting what they learnt at school and regressing, set aside some time each day for learning something new. Have an agreement with your kid and let them tell you one new thing they learnt that day before going to bed. It can be anything such as learning a new trick or finding a new piece of information. The internet also comes to the rescue in the form of online worksheets that you can download and have your kid complete them. Use these resources to engage your kids during the day.

Get them to do household chores

Don’t worry, it’s not child labor. Think of it as a means of equipping kids to take care of themselves when they grow into more mature and responsible adults. Depending on the age of the child, give your kids small chores to do around the house. It can be as simple as putting their toys away or some simple cleaning tasks. Make it a fun event where they don’t see it as a chore but as a fun activity.

Physical exercise

Unfortunately, with public parks being closed, there is only so much we can offer our kids in terms of physical activity. Stimulating sensory motor neurons at a young age is crucial in their emotional and physical wellbeing. Kids are born with high amounts of energy and play is a great way to dispel that energy in a useful way.

There are many ways you can achieve this at home too. Cast some kids Zumba videos onto the TV and let them groove to the music. Introduce them to yoga for body flexibility. Create an indoor gym by rearranging your sofas or creating tunnels out of cardboard for them to crawl around. They will get the exercise for the day, eat well and will sleep well.

Comfort and love them

Finally let’s face it, nobody was prepared about what is happening around us. Each day the news media gives us grim updates and it’s all we could do to adjust to changing circumstances. They hear about people dying, people getting sick and people not able to be with loved ones.  Kids too will have their weak moments. Kiss and cuddle your children. Tell them no matter what - we are all in this together!

Tell them they are loved and appreciated. Tell them you are proud of them because of their bravery and resilience in these tough times. Tell them you love them each day.

 

Also read: Coping in the midst of a contagion

 

Image courtesy: shutterstock.com

 

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.

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