Children and young adults account for 42 percent of the worlds population; this age group is very susceptible to entering into an emotional crisis while the world is busy containing the pandemic.
Children perceive changes in their surroundings as early as they come into this world. It is almost impossible to keep them in the dark about the pandemic, and also inadvisable.
It’s important to focus on our littlest and youngest members of society. Meghna Yadav, Head, Training and Development, KLAY Preschools and Daycare shares tips on how you can make kids and teenagers more aware.
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Provide age-appropriate information
It is not advisable to share all possible data and reports about the pandemic with children, but not sharing any information is not a wise decision either. So, the very first measure that adults need to follow is to provide age appropriate information to them. Providing facts to avoid confusion/misconceptions and explaining safety measures taken by family will help children stay focused on their contribution in fighting this virus.
‘Act like a soldier’
Children might feel helpless and anxious about the lockdown and the changes in routine. The best way to keep the positivity high in children is to provide them the feeling of being little soldiers fighting a battle, rather than the ones who are under threat. “To beat the virus, we need to stay indoors” is a better explanation of social distancing than to say, “We cannot go out.”
Social distancing does not mean social isolation
Socialising is the key for happiness of children and children may be feeling disconnected with their friends and peers while maintaining social distancing. As adults, we have to keep children socially connected with wise use of technology. Video call with friends and extended family members is a wonderful solution for maintaining human connection in the time of social distancing.
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Share the load
Parents are found to be under constant stress of not only protecting the family against the pandemic but also maintaining a work life balance in the crisis. Working for professional commitments amidst family chores is not easy to sustain for long durations. Sharing the load of household work is a win-win situation in this scenario. Asking children to help in daily chores like cleaning, washing, or mopping will not only reduce your burden but will also keep children busy and physically active while staying indoors.
Know the 3 Rs
The mantra of Three Rs is found to be of great help for parents to maintain emotional stability of children in crisis.
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The three Rs include :
Reassure: Provide age appropriate information and reassure them about their safety. Talk about ways to stay safe and keep expressing that you are there for them.
Routine: Routine gives predictability to children and this ultimately leads to a sense of control about the situation. Children might have a different routine than usual but providing a new routine through time zones like activity time, screen time, family board game time, cooking time helps in reducing their anxiety.
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Regulate: Parents need to regulate their own emotions to teach children self-efficacy in tough times. Children keenly observe and absorb the way parents respond to changing landscapes. So, parents need to be role models for children by staying strong and calm in turmoil.
It is natural to have higher degrees of fear and anxiety during these uncertain times, but what matters most is to recognise what we can do and be grateful for what we have. Stay connected and maintain your social network while maintaining social distancing. (IANS)