Managing Mental Health in Children During COVID-19 Lockdown
Children are facing major interruptions in life with the outbreak of coronavirus and the subsequent lockdown announced by the government. Physical distancing from friends and with every source of entertainment being inaccessible is a lot and tough for them.
With the virus spreading rapidly in the country, it is very likely that children will experience fear, worry, and anxiety—very similar to what adults experience such as fear of dying or losing someone close to them such as a friend or a relative. Even the thought of going to hospital can scare them. With every source of entertainment and recreation such as parks, restaurants, garden, and cinemas closed, they have fewer options to spend their summer vacations with their friends and get social support that is crucial for their mental well-being.
Although all children can feel the changes happening around them, most of them, especially the young ones, may find these changes difficult to understand and with little to no support; they may feel irritated or angry.
There are simple strategies that you can adopt here in order to ensure that they don’t give in to fears. You need to be honest with them and explain everything in detail about what is happening in language they clearly understand.
These strategies can help you manage your children’s mental health during the lockdown.
Provide assurance every time they need
You need to reassure your child because they need you more than you need them. these are difficult times so you must listen to your child’s concerns and answer all their queries related to the outbreak. Spend quality time and give them all the attention they need now in order to ensure that feel safe and secure.
- Put them in contact with their friends and relatives
One of the biggest concerns of children now is they are unable to meet their friends. Friendship is important for a healthy childhood and physical distancing from friends or for that matter any one they love can be a cause of distress. Have your child talk to his friends through phones or video calls via WhatsApp or Zoom.
- Manage your child’s anxiety
It’s easy for children to get anxious about happenings around them and more so during times like these. Check if you child’s behavior has changed and talk to him out of it. Don’t judge your child because he is either anxious or fearful or has little knowledge about the pandemic. As parents you need to give them strength and tell them that things will be back to normal in a few days and we will all be living our usual lives.
- Give them age appropriate information
Children are naive and are unable to process information. You need to give them the right information which is age appropriate. Talking to them about deaths and illnesses isn’t good. Tell them what caused the outbreak and how the current measures will help stop the spread.
During times of crisis, such as the present one, it is normal for children to be more demanding on parents and seek more attachment. If your child has any concerns, then both parents need to sit and counsel the child to ease their anxiety. Children always learn from adults on how to manage their own emotions during difficult times, so set the right example at home.