The COVID-19 pandemic has changed all of our lives. One of these changes includes the indefinite suspension of classes until the pandemic is over. Children also experience fear as their daily routines change.
According to Roshini Kumar, LPC, a clinical therapist at Children’s Health, “Children of any age can experience anxiety.” She adds, “Right now, it’s difficult to anticipate the future, and kids have been pulled from their normal routines. Any time a child faces significant change, it can cause fear and anxiety.”
If your kids are experiencing fear and anxiety, here are some ways how you can help manage them:
Manage Your Own Anxiety First
Kids pick up what their parents are feeling. If their parents are happy, the kids also feel the same. But if their parents are scared or anxious, the kids will also be worried and apprehensive. While it is essential to be up to date with current events, it’s also important to set boundaries for news exposure. All of us need to be updated and prepared, but we should not even panic.
If you want to be updated, you can check reliable sources such as the World Health Organization.
Ask And Listen To Your Child
You can start the conversation by asking the child what they know about COVID-19 and what they’re worried about. This way, you will have an idea of where to begin and how to address misconceptions. If your child is active on social media, ask them what they saw and where they got such information.
Asking what your child is worrying about can also help relieve their anxiety. You may even realize that they’re not worried about the COVID-19 but other things. Listening and validating a child’s feelings are needed to support them during these difficult times. You can do so by sharing with your child your ways of coping up with anxiety.
Explain The Facts In A Calm Manner
Before jumping into the discussion about COVID-19 to your child, be sure that you gather reliable information but stick to only one to two sources, so you don’t overwhelm yourself. Share this information with your child calmly and straightforwardly and explain these in terms your child will understand.
For instance, you can say that the COVID-19 is a virus that spreads to people by sneezing or coughing and how does it affect kids.
You also have to tell the truth when explaining to your child. At the same time, reassure them that you, as parents, are doing everything that you can to protect and keep them safe from the virus.
Create A Routine
Now that we are currently undergoing in the “new normal,” establishing a daily routine will help the child adjust and cope with the changes. Setting up a new daily routine will be beneficial for the child because they will maintain their regular sleep schedule, healthy eating habits, and other physical activities.
Here are some activities you can incorporate to your new daily routine with your child:
- Tutor and help the child work on their school assignments at an area of your home with fewer distractions.
- Try to follow your child’s school schedule when they were still going to schools, such as having 10-15 minute breaks or 30-40 minute lunch breaks. If so, take breaks and eat lunch together with your child.
- Set a time for doing fun physical activities with your child to help them become physically active and fit while at home.
Teach Your Child Self-Care
During these times, we all have to take care of ourselves more than ever. In the same way, your child has to learn self-care methods to lessen their anxiety. Some techniques are taking deep breaths, media breaks, reducing device usage, encouraging healthy sleep habits, and being consistent with your daily routine.
Children Can Help, Too
Always remind your child that there are things they cannot control. But they can contribute to preventing the spread of COVID-19 at home, like washing their hands thoroughly and more often, not touching their eyes and mouth, coughing or sneezing into their elbow, practicing social distancing and many more.
While they may not fully grasp the pandemic situation, but doing these ways will help them cope with the worries brought by the pandemic. For both parents and children, it is necessary to intentionally reduce media usage to lessen the anxiety and fear of the COVID-19 pandemic.