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With news of extension of the lockdown, children fearing the worst outcomes is quite natural. However, here are 10 things you can do to curb the fear.
Today, most of us are staying at home in lockdown to keep ourselves safe from the Coronavirus or COVID-19. It is new for all of us to stay home and work, to not let the kids get to school or parks and avoid outdoor activities. We are avoiding all outdoor activities- family gathering, shopping or movies and anything that has us going out of our houses. In short, we have socially distanced ourselves and are trying to keep ourselves and our family indoors.
It is something most of us have not seen in this lifetime. Everybody is going through the anxiety of how to avoid the virus or the fear of contracting it. Many of us also fear the loss of jobs or in business, pay cut or the crisis in the overall economy. However, in this process some of us have forgotten that our little ones around us are listening, observing and watching us every day.
A few weeks ago, some of the parent’s group were discussing how a few kids were terrified of the lockdown they are upset. Some kids were having nightmares or spent time crying. They felt that their parents or loved ones would leave them or die or that they world will end
It was really disturbing to know that, and the obvious questions came in. Are the parents indirectly disturbing our child’s calm mental state? Did we check on our child’s state? Have we had a quick chat with them about why we are stuck at home?
Several parents I know haven’t had any of these conversations with their kids. I did have some discussions with my five year old and he was okay. What I didn’t realise was that it can be a little different for many of his friends and other kids.
To begin with, we need to train our brain to understand this is just a phase which will pass. I know it’s a difficult one that we are going through but we need to ensure that we read and speak the appropriate things in front of the kids.
Here are ten things that can be done in order to help your kids cope with the lockdown worries.
Firstly, we need to stop avoiding believing in all the WhatsApp forwards and other social media posts about COVID-19. We need to understand that most of these are not verified and that some people have too much time to spread these messages. They, quite often, do not check the sources, nor are they aware of the implications of sharing such messages.
Please, be honest with the kids about the lockdown and the pandemic. The truth needs to be framed according to every age-group. Avoid telling them things like it is a deadly monster and we need to stay indoors. Or that the virus is a dangerous one and spreads easily, so to avoid falling sick, we are all staying home.
Instead of telling them that, tell them, “The virus survives in our bodies and when we stay home, we are hiding in a safe place where it cannot find us so it will not get in our bodies. Slowly it will die. We all will stay at home and hide in our safe place and make sure the virus dies on its own and not harm more people.” This will help decrease their fear in a slightly positive manner.
Keep yourselves away from negative thoughts. And an effective way to do that is by practising yoga or meditation. You could also pray to the supreme power you believe in.
Think about that power and pray for healing the world and giving us the strength. Engage children in regular prayers or yoga and meditation for healing. Along with a healing activity, this will also keep them occupied for a while.
Stay occupied in the daily chores and activities, take this opportunity to spend time with your family. I doubt you’d get a similar opportunity again. Complete the household activities as a family. And make sure you involve the little one in the activity as well. Having them help you will make them feel a little responsible and divert their mind as well.
Please follow the basic guidelines of keeping yourselves and surroundings clean. Wash your hands and mouth before and after food. Unnecessary panic about carrying sanitisers or constantly using it repeatedly will only cause more harm than good.
Basic hygiene and cleanliness are expected of us and our kids. Follow that and once you do it, your kids will learn and do the same.
Have your kids involved in video calls with their teachers and school friends. This will help them see that everyone is home and are trying to fight the virus. Additionally, it will also give them the assurance that their friends and teachers are fine.
These conversations, while reassuring for your child, will also be interesting and the kids will engage with each other. They might even help each other understand the situation better.
Try to avoid discuss the statistics on the spread of the virus worldwide or even the number of deaths caused by it. This will help no one- neither the adults, nor the kids.
Instead, have a certain time to discuss those things in a private setting, if you want to, away from the children.
The media and social media have manipulated and twisted news about the pandemic. And some times, if we expose our children to these kinds of news, it will only heighten their fear and bring in sadness and negative thoughts.
Instead of the news, share pictures of how the earth is healing due to the lockdown. Explain to them how staying indoors will help clean the air and water and will bring out birds too. Try to show them animals and birds in your backyard or garden.
Spend quality time with children since you see them around you. We should make use of this time, play with them and also have chats with them. Be around them, comfort them when they fear things and make them feel safe around you.
Stay safe and stay inside your houses. This phase, too, shall pass.
Picture credits: Still from Hindi TV series Kulfi Kumar Bajewala
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