The recommended measures of social isolation give the best results in fighting the epidemic, but they also bring changes in routines for all family members. It is natural to feel scared and anxious, that is a normal reaction to the state of crisis and uncertainty.
Children can feel confused, sad, afraid or worried. They have much less experience than you and therefore fewer strategies to cope with the crisis. So here are several suggestions that can help you organize and overcome the challenges of isolation more easily.
(1.) Master your time and the day.
Introduce order into your daily activities – make a plan of activities for the entire week. The structure will give you and your children a sense of security and it should be as close to your lifestyle before the home quarantine as possible.
You can make this plan together with your children, and put it in a visible place so that it is available to all household members.
(2.) Take care of yourself, eat regularly, exercise, sleep enough and reduce all other sources of stress.
Do things that give you back the control of your own life. Dedicate time to activities that improve your mood. That can be listening to music, a film, a good book, a hobby you haven’t had time for before.
Be proactive because this attitude gives you the power and control of uncertain situation. Also, taking care of yourself will not only help you stay healthy, but it will also help you stay calm and focused so that you can adequately take care of your children.
(3.) Dedicate time to activities that improve your mood.
In times of crisis and stress, it is common for children to seek more contact and to be more demanding towards their parents.
Talk to your children about COVID-19 in an honest, age-appropriate way. Children, just like adults, can feel relieved when they express and share their fears and concerns with others.
And children observe the behaviour of adults and their emotions so that they themselves know how to manage their own feelings. Help them find positive ways to do it.
Kindergartens and schools are temporarily closed, children are spending more time at home, and you may feel the additional pressure and responsibility to organize the daily activities with your children.
Playing with loved ones will help children feel safer in times of uncertainty, it will help them process confusing information, get closer with their parents and increase their capacities and skills for future challenges in life.
(4.) Don’t neglect your needs as a parent, especially if you work from home – this can be a challenge with children in your immediate surroundings.
Set clear expectations from your children about when you can help them and when you are unavailable for them. Enter the activities you know your children can do on their own into the family schedule of activities (including watching educational content on TV). Be patient with them until you manage to achieve it. Your children might not accept it immediately, but they will get used to it in time.
You probably won’t be as productive as usual either, but that’s completely fine. Plan some time just for yourself during the day, even if just half an hour. During this time, organize your children’s time.
(5.) Spare yourself the negative information and excessive watching of the news, don’t let the information about the development of the epidemic overflood you.
At the same time, beware of misinformation, get your information only from reliable websites and information sources that provide proven information and advice.
If you feel severely anxious and unsettled, it is important to know that you are not alone and that your response is normal and understandable having in mind the situation that the entire society is in.
Sometimes talking to a trusted person, a friend or family member, is a good and easy way to feel better. You can keep a diary. When we share what’s bothering us with someone, it is more likely we will feel relieved and better understand the situation we are in and the feelings that come with it.
At last but not the least, please do not hesitate to seek the help of a professional if you do not manage to cope with fear and anxiety on your own. There are numerous resources and phone numbers available where you can get in touch with mental health professionals. This support is also available and important during the difficult times of the ongoing pandemic.
Researcher:- Divyam Bansal
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