Young children are one of the age groups that are most adversely affected by this pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. They are trapped in their homes without completely understanding the reasons and the gravity of the situation. To add to that, they are also the age group that is at a higher risk of contracting this infection due to their low immune system.
Therefore it is very important to not only maintain hygiene but also care for the child’s developmental needs.
Here are some of the tips that you can use to help your child through these tough times:
It is very important to remember that young children’s minds are very adaptable. They are also very good at picking up their parents’ emotions. So if you are stressed and panicked about the current situation, your kids are likely to pick that up and model the same behaviour. They will also be worried and anxious. Therefore, it is very important to maintain a positive environment in the house.
This can be done quite easily. Try using positive statements while guiding them to do some work. For example, instead of saying “Don’t throw things here,” you can say “Please, pick up your things and put them in place.” Also, make a point to appreciate your kids when they do a good job or follow your instructions well. Even though these are small changes, they have a very positive impact on the child and make sure the good behaviour continues.
It is very important to keep the channels of communication with your kids open. For a majority of kids, this is a completely new situation. They are not used to being trapped in the home or even seeing their parent working from home. It is crucial that you talk to the child and let them express their feelings. They may not be able to articulate well but will feel a lot better knowing that their parents are being receptive.
It is also your responsibility to talk to them about the virus and its consequences. Don’t be extremely detailed but try to explain the situation to them. They are exposed to the news and you cannot entirely shelter them. However, you can make sure that the information which reaches them is not too intense and does not overwhelm them. It is also necessary to make sure that the information they know is correct and not hearsay.
3.Keep a routine
Since the children are home the entire day, they may face problems in spending their time. Time probably feels much longer for them as compared to adults. To avoid this from having a negative impact on their health, draw up a daily routine for them. Don’t make this routine very rigid. Take the help of the child also in designing by asking them what they would like to do and when. Children are known to be more receptive when they have a choice in their activities.
You can put in things that children like to do between two things that they don’t like to do. For example, if your child is reluctant in solving maths then you can do an exercise routine before and plan a meal after the work. Try to involve children in helping out with the household chores. It is okay if they make a mess.
Now more than ever it is important that we maintain personal hygiene. This is also a good time to teach children some basic hygiene practices and life skills. Before teaching them about hygiene, talk to them about it. Find out how much they know about hygiene and build from there. Explain the importance and the necessity of personal hygiene including dental hygiene.
One of the easiest ways to talk to children about hygiene is by making it a fun activity. Try to develop a song or make up a poem for the time that they wash their hands with soap. You can also try developing a story for every time that your child brushes their teeth too.
5.Exercise and fun
It is very important to make sure that your child properly exercises every day. Keep aside some time in your schedule dedicated to exercising. Make sure not to place it right after mealtimes. There are many resources available online to help you with planning out the exercises. You can also plan varied exercises for different days of the week.
For instance, if you are exercising with counts on one day then the next day you can choose to do a dance activity. Remember to make sure that your child enjoys these activities. You can also allow them to choose the exercise that they want to do. In a time when children cannot go out and play, exercising will help them in their development. It will also avoid making them restless and irritated.
These are some of the ways that you can alleviate the anxiety and restlessness that your child may be facing during these uncertain times. Teaching them important life skills and involving them in your work can go a long way in their holistic development. This is the perfect time to teach them values like independence and compassion. Keep in mind that they are young and when the pandemic is over, they should be able to look back at this time with good memories.