COVID-19 has resulted in most of us being stuck at home for over three months now and imagine what the little children are going through with so much of uncertainties, long hours of online classes, reduced outdoor activities and very restrictive social interactions. Children have all allowed themselves to be considered to follow the virtual reality and get accommodated to the social distancing. But however, the COVID-19 has become overwhelming for most of them. Some of them are going through negative experiences which are unhealthy emotions that sometimes parents don’t have time to listen or are not enough thoughtful about.
All these children have ambivalent thinking about the release of the lockdown. Some of them might have a list of things that they would want to do after the school reopens, but some of them might still be worried about how they could protect themselves from the virus after the lockdown ends. Lots of anxiousness and emotional stress have risen among the children with the fear of losing loved ones to being away from their friends and relatives for months because of the infection due to COVID-19.
There is a shift in the paradigm to e-learning and restricted contact with friends and grandparents. This is a challenging situation for the children. And in this situation, what makes it most difficult for the parents is that most of these children are not that open about communicating their feelings. Most parents being working professionals have to work from home due to COVID-19 and this absence of communication with children despite working from home triggers aggression, mood swings, throwing tantrums and other behavioural concerns.
Thus, understanding mental health is very important during this period for overall good health of children as well as adults. For many adults who have mental disorders, symptoms were present but often not recognized or addressed in childhood and adolescence.
Taking care of our mental health is just as important as having a healthy body and parents definitely has the most important role in promoting their children’s mental health. To promote good mental health, all you can do is say positive things, do good things and create a positive environment at home. Help your children to build strong and caring relationships as it is very important for them to have strong relationships with family and friends. Spend some time together to know what your child really wants.
A significant person who is consistently present in a child’s life plays a crucial role in helping them develop resilience. Reassuring your child in these times of distress is very important so that they feel they have someone always behind their backs and that they can always turn to them when they need help.
Show lots of love and acceptance. Praise them when they do well. Recognize their efforts as well as their achievements. This is how children develop positive self-esteem and feel good about themselves.
To overcome this emotional stress of children, parents need to proactively engage in conversations with the child and also give them opportunities and space to connect and talk to their friends and extended families either through regular calls or videos. Discuss topics of interest and guide them to engage in something productive and mentally stimulating not by forcing them but interactive direction. Talk to them about the positive side of the lockdown such as reduced pollution. Communicate more often with the child during the day whenever you get time. Incorporate fun and humour in your conversation.
Most importantly make your child realise that irrespective of the impact of the coronavirus on our lives, it has brought our families, communities, nations and the entire world together. Children must be helped to take this experience and emerge stronger against the battle of COVID-19, embracing all odds and keeping positive experiences alive.
Know more about Ms.Bhargabi Kashyap