The best way to make children good is to make them happy.” — Oscar Wilde
This sounds so simple, yet too difficult to implement nowadays. Isn’t’ it?
This is because the whole world is getting affected by the spread of COVID-19 and the impact can be seen on children as well. It is not so easy to make them happy now. Some children are feeling anxious, bored, agitated, angry and whatnot. There is an increase in their temper tantrums. This is happening because they are being bombarded with so much information about COVID- 19 which is not easy to digest for them. They are confused, insecure and lonely. On top of that, we all are making children aware of the symptoms of COVID-19, preventive measures and causes of the same and this awareness are making the children more confused as well as curious. They ask several questions such as why they can’t go to school if the mask can protect them then why they can’t go out to play with their friends while wearing a mask, why they can’t just open the pack of chips and eat without sanitizing it from outside etc.
In addition to that, we are all home and busy with our lives. We, adults, are managing our work as well as household chores while being at home. Children are unable to understand that their parents are home all day long and still they don’t have time for them. This situation is making them more irritable as it is difficult for them to see their parents in front of their eyes the whole day still they are not spending time with them. On top of that, the adults are fretting and being stressed about going out. They are disinfecting every object that comes in their sight. They are quarrelling with each other on small issues. Though the topic of these issues doesn’t matter to young kids but seeing adults fighting or arguing frequently make them feel sad. This scenario is impacting their mental health to a great extent. It is hard for them to stay indoors all day all night, for months. It is not easy to suddenly lose contact with their friends and teachers. They want to open spaces to run around. Their life has changed completely overnight and they can’t even express their feelings properly. It is not easy for them to tame their active mind. So, they are expressing their anguish in the form of mood swings and irritation.
As a parent, you need to act as a support, as a teacher and as a friend for them. Let’s learn what else you can do for your child to become as happy and active as before.
- Give them a tight hug- Even you are fulfilling all their needs on time like cooking for them, helping them do their homework, playing with them but physical touch is all that an innocent soul craves for. Hug your child. Hug them when they wake up when they finish their studies when they go to sleep. This physical connection will make your emotional connection with your child stronger and they will be more comfortable with you in sharing their thoughts and feelings.
- Be creative- Take out some time from your routine and be creative with your child. Work on different art projects such as paper origami, painting, making something out of waste material etc. Teach them what you know and learn from them what they are good at. Appreciate each other and if possible, involve other family members as well. Have fun as a family.
- Make video calls- Talk to the parents of your child’s friends and arrange a video call for all the children. Keep your children in contact with their friends and let them reminiscence the pre-COVID-19 time. Additionally, you can plan some activities with other parents which the children can enjoy doing while on the video call.
- Make a routine- Make a fixed routine for your children that include learning, leisure and exercise time so they are occupied all day long in one or the other activity. When there is no activity for them to do, children often feel bored and then complain. This further makes them feel irritated and they start disturbing you with their tantrums.
- Manage their anxiety – It is normal to feel anxious at this time when everything seems uncertain. If they ask you any questions related to COVID- 19, answer them calmly and do not get angry over them due to their repetitive inquiries. This is also their first time to face a situation like this and they are not mature enough to understand everything on their own. So, look out for the emotional signs in them and talk about those.
Children deserve a big round of applause for being strong and understanding in these difficult times. Such situations and restrictions can make any person feel irritated and angry, so it is not strange that your child is showing these behaviours and emotions. Just listen to them, provide reassurance and comfort their insecurities.
Just remember. This too shall pass!