There are approximately 1.9 million children all over the world. This COVID-19 pandemic has affected children the most not physically but psychologically. They are stuck at home without much activity. They cannot go out to play or do any activity which they did before the pandemic.
Some significant signs observed in children are:
- Change in sleeping patterns
- Increased aches and pains
- Increased focus on their body
- Change in mood or behaviour
- Difficulty in separating from authority
- Withdrawal and isolation
- Difficulty concentrating
- Increased worries or inability to focus
If the above signs are being seen in the child then it is likely that that child needs additional support from the family to manage his/her feelings. So as a parent you can use certain strategies to change or stop their behaviours.
- Provide assurance whenever needed: It is very important to reassure children. Just listen to their concerns and try to answer their questions related to the outbreak. Spend quality time with them and give them the attention they need. Reading stories to them to sleep will make them feel loved
- Keep them in contact with their friends: Physical distancing is the cause of distress for all children. Encourage them to talk to their friends, cousins, loved ones by calling them up through video calls. The children can do some fun activities virtually like Antakshari, Truth or Dare, Name Place, Animal, Thing.
- Manage child’s anxiety: It is perfectly normal for the child to become anxious at this time. Look and observe the child for the emotional cues. Avoid being judgemental when they express their feelings. Don’t avoid questions related to COVID or speak harshly to them. This can increase their fear and anxiety. Make them understand that things will get better if proper care is taken. Just remember this is a new situation for children and please don’t get irritated with them
- Give them clear information: It is always advised not to provide children with a lot of reports and news related to the outbreak. It is very important to give the correct information as to what is happening in the world. Give them proper facts in a way to understand the situation and don’t remain confused as it might increase their anxiety. Explanations can be done through creative pictures and drawings
- Engage them in indoor activities: It is obvious that children will get bored easily during this time. Involve them in some indoor games to cut their boredom, for e.g.-treasure hunts, this game is very easy and depends on how many items you use. Hide the items anywhere, this can help to keep children engaged for some time, Hide useful things and ask the child to spell the name of the thing when it is found. Bring out board games you have in the house and play them with your children. Tell your childhood stories to them. Bake cake and cookies with them. As a family, you can have a picnic in the living room and play memory game at the same time. Each person takes turns in remembering what everyone is bringing and add one thing each turn. Do a dance party at home and invite friends and children virtually You can start an independent novel project such as reading a book together or make kids write a book review on the recent book they read. These small home projects can keep kids learning all the time. Make them write letters. Make playdough at home. Make a jigsaw puzzle together. Exercise together. Have a paint night at home. Make pizza together. Make gratitude journals where you can thank people and this is a great way to remember positive things in the world. Play hopscotch indoors. Do yoga together. Play fancy dress at home. Make your own board game. Interview each other, this way both the parties can know each other well. Try origami. Practice instruments. Make self-portraits.
- Make a routine of learning at home: The schools are closed but learning still continues so don’t stop them from growing. Make sure that they have a regular habit of studying by giving them some assignments related to lessons. Check assignments to understand their progress.
Thus these are few ways by which we can keep children engaged in the house and help them in their personal growth.