The Coronavirus pandemic has turned family life upside down around the world. With schools and offices closed, we as parents have to face a stressful, family situation. The parents are confined to the home and cut off from the support of family and friends. Some parents are working from home and at the same time have to keep their kids on track with their virtual schoolwork. A parent has to fulfil so many roles and sometimes as parents we think that we are failing in every possible role.
We have to remember that this is a unique situation and this is going to take time. We have to go easy on ourselves and keep our stress levels in check.
The common challenges faced by all parents across the world:
1. Child’s anxiety about Coronavirus
Your kids might have expressed their fears about this pandemic. Address their fears by talking openly about the virus. Keep reminding them that you care and that they can talk to you anytime. Let your child talk freely. Ask them open questions to test how much they already know about this situation. Be honest and truthful while discussing and share knowledge as per their level of understanding. Teach them to be compassionate to the sick and to the COVID warriors. Keep telling them stories about those heroes who are working day and night to stop this deadly disease and about those heroes who are providing essential services to us.
2. How to keep children busy and happy at home
With no school, no going out to play, and no outings, it becomes a challenge to engage the children so that they do not feel that they are being left out. Let your child decide what they would like to do. Letting them choose helps in building their self-confidence. Engage in plays that can be both fun and educational. Language, numbers, shapes, nouns, pronunciation, drama, vocabulary, and music give children opportunities to explore and express themselves. Share stories of your childhood and motivate them through your experiences. Ask your children to write their own stories. You can ask them to keep a journal to jot down the feelings and emotions they are experiencing during this pandemic. Read books, listen to music, learn a musical instrument, learn new words and spellings, try writing your own poems.
3. Social distancing is good but it should not turn into social isolation
Isolation and loneliness can cause anxiety and depression and it can also affect our physical health. So it is important to stay connected as best as we can and reach out for support when we need it. Stay in touch with your family and friends through regular phone calls, online chatting, video chatting, etc. Social media can be a powerful tool to help us feel connected to communities, country and the world. But at the same time be mindful of how social media is making you feel. Do not let Coronavirus dominate every conversation. Take breaks from stressful thoughts and enjoy each other’s company – laugh, play, sing, and dance together. Simply enjoy every moment of your life. Value friends and family.
It is our duty and responsibility as parents to strive for a mix of screen time, social connection, physical activity, school work and fun projects or activities. Let the children connect with causes that they care about such as nature, animals, helping people through the writing of articles or blogs, etc. Help the children in developing their hobbies or working on their talents. Keep advising and motivating them. Establishing new ways to connect with our children during this time can positively shape our relationships for years to come.
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