Handling Anxiety And Questions Children Have About Going Back To Normal

As the lockdown eases in many parts of India, kids have a lot of questions and anxieties about stepping out.

As the lockdown eases in many parts of India, kids have a lot of questions and anxieties about stepping out.

Talking and listening to a child, and having an open discussion, is the best way to handle this challenge and prepare them. Now more than ever, parents need to focus on communicating and interacting with their children.

As a parent, I explained to my son that these changes in our lives are to be understood and dealt with, not feared. Some of the conversations we have had are reflected below.

  • Returning to school: Even though schools haven’t yet opened, he fears that he might catch Corona as soon as he is in a public space.  I calm him by showing him videos around maintaining hygiene, hand washing and wearing masks.

His teachers and I shared facts about not touching anything unless necessary, washing or sanitising his hands, and maintaining social distancing. This helped him understand that his school will also ensure his safety, and that this is something we as a family, along with his teachers, and friends will face together.

  • Losing touch with friends: Children sometimes feel frustrated with staying indoors and not being able to meet their friends. I made my son understand that like us, others need to be safe in their own homes and we must respect that.

I also helped him connect with his friends via WhatsApp chats, phone calls, or video calls giving them time to interact and to know that all of us are facing similar changes. This helped him understand that his fears are similar.

Knowing that all kids want to be safe and sharing simple examples of using gloves to keep hands clean, and using masks to minimise exposure helped allay his fears. I explained how just as we use covers to protect books, we use masks to protect our faces from germs – this was an example he could relate to and follow.

  • How much to study, when to stop or start: Most schools have continued with online classes to ensure continuity of education. Online classes are likely to continue for the next few months. However, the stress due to the workload both of attending classes, making notes, learning and online tests made him feel as if he was studying all the time.

It took me some time, but we discussed the importance of routine even when regular classes could not be held. By setting new ground rules to ensure a smooth transition, we now have mornings for online classes, afternoons for schoolwork and evenings for play like before.

  • Anxieties around falling sick: Seeing everything that’s going on around them, kids might get scared with the thought of falling sick or someone in the family falling sick. The fact that we as a family are taking all precautions to avoid illness, made him feel more secure. More than any amount of talk, my actions regarding buying and storing essentials, and maintaining hygiene and safety, made him feel reassured. I explained to him the importance of immunity boosters such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and why our elders emphasised on eating them. This made him feel that we are doing our best to stay safe.

We make it a point to continuously share positive news only with our kid, recovery rates, positive effect on environment and more. It’s quite natural for kids to be anxious and worried during such times. Through timely interventions and adequate care, we need to prepare them for the new phase of Unlock1.0– Agaar taiyaari sahi ho, to jeet pakki hai – an article in association with ICICI Prudential Life

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Inderpreet writes for her love of writing, edits manuscripts and reads endlessly. An authors' editor with a decade of experience, she provides manuscript critique, linguistic editing, substantive editing and developmental editing for fiction and nonfiction. read more...

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