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Help your kids cope with the pandemic stress

Help your kids cope with the pandemic stress
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Help your kids cope with the pandemic stress

Highlights

According to WHO, you should provide facts to your kids about what has happened, explain what is going on now and give them clear information about how to reduce their risk of being infected by the disease in words that they can understand depending on their age

Parenting has always been tough, but home schooling, working from home, and all the financial uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 has made it even tougher. These parenting tips can help you cope.

According to World Health Organization (WHO),Children may respond to stress in different ways such as being more clingy, anxious, withdrawing, angry or agitated, bedwetting etc. Respond to your child's reactions in a supportive way, listen to their concerns and give them extra love and attention. S Sharon, a child psychologist in Hyderabad shared, "Children need adult's love and attention during difficult times. Give them extra time, attention andremember to listen to your children, speak kindly and reassure them. If possible, make opportunities for the child to play and relax."

Creative about physical activities

Incorporate new activities into your routine, like doing a puzzle or having family game time in the evening. Build in activities that help everyone get some exercise, safely, especially now that some restrictions are being relaxed. Being a parent, you should think about their favourite activities at summer camp or at home before screens. They often then generate lists of arts and crafts activities, science projects, imaginary games, musical activities, board games and household projects.

Managing your anxiety first

It's completely understandable to be anxious right now but how we manage that anxiety has a big impact on our kids. Keeping your worries in check will help your whole family navigate this uncertain situation as easily as possible.For those moments when you do catch yourself feeling anxious, try to avoid talking about your concerns within earshot of children. If you're feeling overwhelmed, step away and take a break. That could look like taking a shower or going outside or into another room and taking a few deep breaths.

Limit consumption of news

Staying informed is important, but it's a good idea to limit consumption of news and social media that has the potential to feed your anxiety, and that of your kids. Turn the TV off and mute or unfollow friends or co-workers who are prone to sharing panic-inducing posts.Take a social media hiatus or make a point of following accounts that share content that take your mind off the crisis, whether it's about nature, art, baking or crafts.

Virtual connection

Keep your support network strong, even when you're only able to call or text friends and family. Socializing plays an important role in regulating your mood and helping you stay grounded. And the same is true for your children.Let kids use social media (within reason) and Skype or FaceTime to stay connected to peers even if they aren't usually allowed to do so. Communication can help kids feel less alone and mitigate some of the stress that comes from being away from friends.

Technology can also help younger kids feel closer to relatives or friends they can't see at the moment. It's not perfect, but it helps us all feel closer and less stressed.

Make plans

In the face of events that are scary and largely out of our control, it's important to be proactive about what you can control. Making plans helps you visualize the near future. Seeing you problem-solve in response to this crisis can be instructive and reassuring for kids.Even better, assign kids tasks, like picking the restaurant you're going to order from, that will help them feel that they are part of the plan and making a valuable contribution to the family.

Check in with your little ones

Young children may be oblivious to the facts of the situation, but they may still feel unsettled by the changes in routine, or pick up on the fact that people around them are worried and upset. Plan to check in with younger children periodically and give them the chance to process any worries they may be having. Children who are tantruming more than usual, being defiant or acting out may actually be feeling anxious. Pick a calm, undistracted time and gently ask how they're feeling and make sure to respond to outbursts in a calm, consistent, comforting way.

Ask for help

If you have a partner at home, agree that you'll trade off when it comes to childcare, especially if one or both of you are working from home and have younger children. That way everyone gets a break and some breathing room.Everyone who can pitch in, should. Give kids age-appropriate jobs. Teens might be able to help mind younger siblings when both parents have to work.

Most children can set the table, help keep communal spaces clean, do dishes or take out the trash. Even toddlers can learn to pick up their own toys. Working as a team will help your whole family stay busy and make sure no one person (Mom) is overwhelmed. You have to find a balance that works for your family. The goal should be to stay sane and stay safe.

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