During a crisis, no one is more vulnerable than children. Because they are dependent on adults, they need the full support of their parents, teachers, and guardians. Even if they are physically okay, the ruckus of panic and change might take a toll on their mental well-being.
It’s not just the virus that affects the children. It’s the interruption of their school routine and the need to stay indoors all the time. Although there are lots of things that could keep them busy at home, they might still feel worried and anxious about the adjustments they have to take. If they’re old enough to understand the gravity of the pandemic, they could feel the stress that the adults are experiencing, too.
For you to support your children, there are mental health guides and psychological seminars online. These materials, reviewed by professionals, will teach you how to approach your kids’ mental health with empathy. For now, here are three ways you can start:
Maintaining Structure in a Time of Uncertainty
Even if the world is shifting to a new normal, children would feel more at ease if they follow a structured routine, just like a regular spring break or summer vacation. It gives them a sense of normalcy and helps them cope. Generally, children do better when their activities are predictable.
Detailed sleeping schedules and mealtimes are a necessity. If you can, schedule a walk around the block for daily physical activity. And if there’s any change in routine, alert your children ahead of time.
Helping Them Feel at Ease
Open conversations help put a child at ease. You can make your children feel safer by talking to them and letting them know it’s okay to feel anxious. For instance, if they are nervous about returning to school, calm them down by saying that parents and teachers do everything to keep all the kids safe and all the facilities clean, but the students have to do their part. They have to wear masks and stay distant from their classmates. Don’t forget to show them the bright side, too! Even if they have to remain a few feet apart from each other, they get to see their friends and teachers.
Sorting Information through the Internet
The World Health Organization says that, apart from fighting the virus, people are also fighting misinformation. There are many fake news stories online that it is hard for a child to separate fact from fiction. They can mislead children and compel them to take harmful actions. So, help them sort through the information online and explain which is true and which is false. Monitor the sites that they visit and encourage them to ask questions. If you are approachable, the kids won’t hesitate to clarify the things they read online.
Moreover, children feel empowered if they know how to keep themselves safe. Alongside necessary information about the virus, teach ways to stay healthy. Explain the good hygiene habits and food that boosts the immune system will keep diseases at bay. They have always been following these practices, but now, you just have to be extra careful and do it a little more often.
Times are tough for everyone, but children are much more vulnerable than everyone else, physically and mentally speaking. By creating a structured and safe environment, you can shield them from the psychological threat of the virus.