The Coronavirus pandemic has an everlasting impact on global health and economies. The societies across every nation are experiencing an impact on psychosocial well-being. The impacts of the crisis will be felt diversely among different age groups and amongst these, children will face added challenges to comprehend, absorb, and deal with the sudden fluctuations that the pandemic has brought to our world. In the present context of lockdown, being cocooned within the confines of home and restriction of movements, kids have inhibited access to socialization, absence of playtime, isolation, and lack of physical contact with peers. These aspects are vital for their psychosocial wellbeing and growth. School closures have further curbed children from access to face-to-face learning and have limited their interactions with friends. The uncertainty about the future may confuse the child all the more leading to frustration and anxiety build-up. Parents may often overlook the effect that these changes may have on the child. For adolescents, the accumulated stress will only increase with overexposure to social media.
Children have a very vulnerable mind and thus can easily end up being victims of all the current changes around them. Parents might sometimes struggle to scout ways to explain and communicate effectively with children about the on-going situation in a way that is understandable by this age group. This can only add to the frustration among the kids.
Below mentioned are effective strategies that can be adopted by parents to promote a positive mindset and mental well-being of your child during and even in the post-pandemic phase:
Communicate with them regularly: Having young and porous minds, kids tend to absorb the surrounding vibes rapidly and tend to get prejudiced by them. Taking into consideration that currently we are all living in a stressful environment, it has all the chances to reflect on the child as well. Hence, parents and guardians must regularly strike conversations with their children about the current happenings, why it is happening, and must also discuss with them the expected outcomes of those activities if any. These will make parents the source of information averting the child from trusting other unreliable sources for solutions. Be upfront to them about the trending issues to ensure that your child has been receiving the appropriate information.
Notice early signs: During such uncertain times, parents must keep a constant eye on the child and must observe the child closely for any signs of a change in behaviour or attitude. If they notice any changes, they must address them on an immediate basis. At times, kids might fail to express verbally what they are feeling and may show it through their conduct. Hence parents must take immediate cues of these signs and should find out the underlying reasons behind it. If such difficulties can be solved by conversing or doubt solving, parents should instantly talk to the child through it and facilitate them in clearing their minds.
Bonding with children through creative activities: As per an old saying, an idle mind is a devil’s workshop. Hence, while being home-bound, children should be kept occupied by engaging them in fun and educative activities. These will leave them with very little time to let their thoughts reel-in other aspects thus, keeping unwanted stress at bay. Along with easing their stress level, these activities will strengthen parent-child bonding, thus creating a healthy environment around children. Furthermore, these activities will also limit the time spent by the child on social media, thereby being influenced by the displayed alternate reality.
Develop and nurture a relationship backed by trust: Even after taking all precautions, mental health issues may still arise owing to our fast-paced surroundings. Thus, it is of prime importance that parents must develop a feeling of trust in the child, enabling him or her to open up to you and speak clearly about what he/she has been going through.
Childhood is a critical phase in any human’s life, which marks the basis of the personality and emotive resilience’s capacity of any person. In this trying time, parents must be committed to alleviating the impacts of the pandemic on children, a community that deserves the most protection and care.
About the Author
The author, Dr. Atish Laddad, is the Director and Founder at Docterz, a child healthcare digital platform which aims to create nuance-based health tech solutions.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are those of the author; they do not necessarily reflect the views of MediaCatalyst.