No matter how trivial or significant it is, every change in the world around us affects us. And the only way we move forward is by embracing it and adapting to the new conditions. A pandemic is the show stopper of all changes. It has had grave repercussions in our lives. It is a lot to take in, and our mental health is at risk. All these alterations are overwhelming, especially for children. All these ordeals are going to put them through stress and anxiety, if not dealt with correctly. Parenting is difficult as it is, but parenting in a pandemic is a whole new level of difficulty. Here is how you can protect your child from all the negatives that have come along with it.
Let them play at home.
Children have been cooped up for way too long at their homes. Their movement is restricted. And, in such a painful situation, if you ask them not to play at home, then what are they supposed to do? Being naughty and raising havoc while playing is part of the job as a child. If we deny them this outlet for their energy, then they will be frustrated and stressed and annoyed all the time. Children will make noise and mess. But, instead of forbidding their entertainment, you can ask them to clean up after themselves.
The next issue at hand is video games and TV. Let us be honest. If they are going to be at home all day, then they will be at the mercy of electronic gadgets for an extended period. They can’t be studying or being productive all the time. But you can also find alternatives to the technology. Be open minded. Do some search on the internet, interact with your friends, I am sure you will be able to find a score of good options as per what interests you and your child.
Talk to them more often.
There is a high chance that children may be feeling lonely and isolated. The lockdown ruined their social life. Even the hundred classes that they went to were a chance for them to meet people and interact with them. Children miss these interactions. Here you have to help them out. Talk to them regularly. Have normal conversations.
Now, when you are talking to them, don’t make it all about their day and their activities. Keep it a two-way discussion. They tell you about their day, and then you tell them about your day. Talk about all the amusing things that happened to you or your work-related problems. Ask them for their opinion on some matters that may be concerning you. It will give your child a confidence boost. Their self-esteem will also soar. And it will make parenting in this pandemic just a little easier.
Keep the pandemic news to a minimum.
There is nothing more stressful than knowing how miserable the situation is. Yes, the condition may be worsening. But no, you don’t have to keep seeing the news all the time and spoil the mood at home. Being informed is one thing and being completely engrossed in it is different. We have to do the former. Children are easily worried by rough news. These constant updates make it difficult for them to concentrate on being happy.
Watching the news once in a day is okay. But, don’t keep checking it every second. It will be unhealthy for you too. You also have to stay positive if you want to keep your children positive. No matter what the situation is outside the house, you have to keep it calm inside. This way, they will be able to concentrate on something other than the pandemic and how everyone is in trouble.
Have fun together.
You are the only one with whom your children can socialize. So, be a fun company for them. Don’t project your boredom (that is if you have any) on the poor kids. If you think being a parent and doing parenting in this pandemic is tough, try being a child who has nothing better to do than being cooped up all day at home. Have fun with them. It is a golden opportunity for you to spend more time with your children. When we were neck-deep in our busy schedules, we often complained about how we had no time for our children. Now, you have time. Go, spend it with your kids (go now, just kidding, go after reading everything).
Play games together. Do some activities they like, and then do something you will also like. It will be an opportunity for you to bond with each other. A happy and playful environment at home is always preferable to tension, stress, and frustration.
Parenting in any crisis like a pandemic, is about shielding them from the crisis as well as the grave aftereffects while being honest to them. Not knowing makes us anxious. When your children ask you something related to the current situation or any other thing, give them nothing but the truth. If they come to ask you about how bad the situation is, don’t sugar coat it. But giving them hope is also your job. So, give them the full news. The condition is worse right now, but we are going to get through this. Children will be introduced to many unpleasant terms in this period. Help them navigate through all of it to the best of your knowledge. And this tip is not valid just for ‘parenting in pandemic,’ it holds true for, ‘parenting all the time.’
Keep them in contact with their friends.
Technology has progressed and progressed so that we can still stay in contact even if we are oceans apart. There is no reason why your children cannot meet their buddies in the virtual world. When everything is happening digitally, why not this? If technology is being used to make them study (and they thought something as trivial as a worldwide pandemic would get them out of math’s and science), then it should also be used for the good things in life.
There are many ways in which kids can have fun with their friends by playing games together or watching a movie together. It will bring some normalcy into their life. It will drastically increase their happiness levels.
A pandemic is a once in a lifetime situation. It is also an example of the survival of the fittest. Mentally strong people will survive this calamity, without scarring their minds. But, those who will not be able to tame these conditions will have a hard time staying afloat. If you think you are not handling these situations properly, then get professional help. And, even if you feel you are not strong enough, don’t project it on your children. And don’t hide from them that you are having a hard time coping with these conditions. Tell them what you are going through. And also tell them that it doesn’t mean they also have to go through this. You believe that they can get through this. They will understand and will strengthen within.