Do you think your child is celebrating holidays?
All adults are stressed about corona virus. Many countries are on lock down. Children directly or indirectly listen how people are dying. How can they be joyful and carefree?
Look beyond your child’s smile. Your child might be anxious but not able to show it. This is the difficult time for all.
Schools are closed
My son celebrated when schools closed and exams were cancelled. But now he is worried. He worries.., will he be able to see all his friends? Is his favourite teacher safe?
Can’t play with friends
Due to lock down children can’t play with their friends. Even if parents are home, children need friends to share their thoughts and secrets.
Parents working from home
Many parents are working from home. Parents might ask children to be quiet or nag children about even small things.
Parents confined in house for long can bring up past issues and fight. This causes huge stress on children.
My son is in grade 6 and many of his friends are playing group games. They share their score in WhatsApp and discuss about it. Now my son is stressed if I don’t allow him to play those games. I am stressed that most of these games are not age appropriate. This peer pressure causes lot of anxiety.
This is the stress caused by people fighting to watch their favourite shows.
Most adults can watch shows on their gadgets( if mobile and internet services are still working).
But if house has small children who are not allowed to use gadgets and elders who are not comfortable with gadgets, TV fight is real.
Lack of favourite food
During lock down people are not advised to go outside. Children have to eat whatever is available at home. No takeouts, no restaurants. Children will miss their favourite food and feel depressed.
Parents are stressed about cooking and argue with children.
Fear of uncertainty
When will school re-open? Will I be able to meet my friends? Will my parents have their jobs? What if we run out of food? What if run out of money? Will we ever be able to go on vocation?
Will the world be same again?
Though children are epitome of hope, they can feel the anxiety of uncertainty.
Have you taught your child how to manage uncertainty? Have you taught them to be adaptable?
With cities under lock down, parents are anxious too. Most city facilitates are shutdown and people have to be self reliant. Many lost their jobs too.
Parents anxiety transfers to children.
Fear of death
Children of all ages fear their and their loved ones death. They often worry not being able to see their grandparents.
Since corona virus puts elders at higher risk children might get scared.
They might even feel anxious when parents go out to get supplies. Some children worry excessively, what will happen to them if they become orphans.
Check if your child has corona anxiety
How to manage anxiety in children?
Below are few suggestions
Acknowledge their feeling
All emotional well being starts from acknowledging the emotions. Tell your child it is OK to feel anxious. Assure, you will always listen.
Talking about the feeling, writing diary , emotional tapping (EFT), meditation helps. You can also use creative ways like painting to lower the anxiety.
Tell your child that you are taking all necessary precautions. Also assure that you have courage to handle whatever comes.
No need to show false bravery here. If you are facing problem, discuss it in mild words with children. Children often come up with innovative ways to handle problems. Another advantage is they feel more inclusive and responsible if you involve them in solving problems.
Develop a home schedule
Since external forces are not there (like school or office timings), everyone is feeling out of balance. Schedule or routine habits gives sense of control.
Develop a home schedule. Let everyone take part in house activities. Put aside some planned time to play with your child.
My son does yoga two times a day and mops the house every other day. We also play card games for 1 hour. I often read him personality development books before bed time.
This is for anxiety that parents are facing
Since the whole world is out of balance, parents feel anxious too. So don’t add ‘parenting’ to that list.
No need to entertain children all the time.
Let children get bored. Let them find their own ways to entertain themselves. Let them do some house chores. They can learn to cook. Let them create some mess.
Allow them to play safe online games, may be let them do some Udemy courses. Or let them watch age appropriate movies in Netflix. How about watching Discovery science or TLC channel?
Overall don’t stress this time. Take care and stay safe.
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