Children, unlike adults, may not have the capacity to fully understand the unique situation we are in or have the ability to express their feelings.
Special attention has to be therefore paid to this vulnerable age group.
While the lockdown has given us all plenty of time to spend with our children, it brings along with it, it’s own set of worries.
- How do I keep them occupied?
- How do I prevent excess screen time?
- How do I ensure studies don’t get disturbed?
- How do I ensure they are not stressed by the ongoing pandemic?
- are questions that almost all parents are asking these days.
Some pointers towards managing the daily life of children may help ease the burden of both parent and child.
are the four pillars for dealing with children during such stressful situations such as the lockdown.
Children with supportive parents do well in life, especially so in a situation like this. Providing emotional support by allowing them to talk about their worries instead of brushing it aside, explaining their doubts in age-appropriate ways helps them to face this situation with confidence.
A child’s understanding capacity differs with age. A long drawn out scientific explanation will not help a child in 2 or 3 rd standard, but a drawing might. Similarly, short answers saying you don’t need to understand further, will not suffice for an intelligent teenager. Provide answers to queries, don’t brush away fears, teach them a realistic approach.
No going to school, no going out to play, no going to meet friends. Life has suddenly changed. Thankfully technology has stepped in as a substitute. Online classes instead of school, video calling instead of going out to meet friends have acted as good enough substitutes for most children.
Creating a time and space for play would be a good substitute for playing outside. Now is the time to revisit your childhood games and play in with your children in the confines of your home.
If you are worried about too much time screen time, now is also the time to inculcate the habit of reading books. Helping in household chores and indulging in hobbies are other good substitutes for screen time.
In the absence of a schedule, children getting distracted during study hours or spending too much time online on nonacademic activities is a genuine concern.
Setting up a schedule on which both of you agree helps. Keep in mind that it is indeed difficult to concentrate and study at home as one would do at school. Recreating a classroom atmosphere at home, along with frequent breaks helps the child.
Children understand clearly spelled out guidelines. They also learn by observation.
If you ask them to study and not waste time chatting online but you yourself are doing the same, you are sending confusing signals to the child. Remember you are the role model, so watch your behavior.
Financial worries, job insecurities, health issues may be worrying all of us. In the midst of our worry, we forget the silent spectators, our children. They are watching and learning. How you react to stress becomes the model for them to enact to all future stressful situations
If you lash out at people when stressed, you have taught your child that it is ok to do so.
So keep your worries aside while dealing with your children. A stable home environment raises a secure child. In the end, remember these are novel times.
A structured life with adequate relaxation and play helps the child.
But too much structuring and striving for perfection is also not right. Innovate as you go along. Afterall extraordinary times need extraordinary measures.
This too shall pass.