”Don’t let yourself become so concerned with raising a good child that you forget you already have one”
Fear, uncertainty, and being stuck at home to slow the spread of covid-19 can make it tough for parents to keep a sense of calm. But it’s important to help children feel safe, keep healthy routines, manage their behaviour and emotional issues. For many parents, home in the age of COVID-19 has become the office, the classroom, even the gym. Many parents are struggling to not only keep their children occupied, but also to oversee schooling. To help parents cope with this time of uncertainty, following tips can help:
* Recognise your child’s feelings
First and foremost recognise how your child is feeling and Calmly say, for example, “I can see that you are upset because you can’t have your friends over.” Guiding questions can help children work through issues. Keep a check on their feeling and try to connect with them.
* Answer questions about the pandemic simply & honestly
Talk with children about any frightening news they hear. It is OK to say people are getting sick, but say following rules like hand washing and staying home will help us stay healthy.
* Establish a routine
It’s unrealistic to think you and your children will put in normal hours during this stressful time. But it’s important to maintain a routine, even if children are getting or staying up later than usual. Routines help family members cope with stress and be more resilient.
* Set boundaries
Boundaries blur when work and home life occur at the same place, making it more difficult to get things done or disconnect from work. To help, designate a specific area to work in, ideally a room with a door. Also designate an area for schoolwork and homework. Always thank your child for allowing you to do your work.
* Threats are far less effective
Avoid physical punishment. Spanking, hitting, and other forms of physical or corporal punishment risks injury and isn’t effective. Physical punishment can increase aggression in children over time, fails to teach them to behave or practice self-control. Corporal punishment may take away a child’s sense of safety and security at home, which are especially needed now.
At this time of uncertainty, I believe its ok for parents to let loose a little. Don’t feel guilty about allowing more screen time than usual. You might allow your child to watch a movie or play a video game while you complete a work task Or help your child stay connected to friends via videoconferencing.Also at the same time I would recommend that Don’t forego the rules entirely. Younger children should use a computer or tablet in common spaces rather than their rooms so that parents can monitor content. With teens, talk about appropriate content and screen time limits. All the couples must understand that It’s immensely important to share responsibilities. If there’s another parent or caregiver in your home, negotiate child-care shifts. You might oversee schoolwork in the morning while your partner works, then trade off in the afternoon.
I request all the parents at this hard time to Practice self-care. You and everyone else in your family need alone time every day. Take a walk, enjoy a long shower or just sit in your garden. During this stressful time, it’s important to go easy on your children and yourself.
(The author is Counsellor, Jmps & Founder, Child Guidance Clinic)