Currently, mainstream media is overwhelmed by news coverage on the coronavirus pandemic. With so much information coming in, it can be devastating for parents and their children, especially with so many schools closed. As a parent, you must try as much as possible to filter the information your children are getting and talk to them in a way that they will understand and cope.
You need to have a constructive way of interacting with your kids to ensure they remain healthy throughout this outbreak. Understand that COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted your daily routine and that of your children. While this may be hard for them, there are specific things you can do to quell their fears and ensure healthy parenting.
1. Plan direct conversations with each kid separately
Since governments have shut down schools, it presents a perfect opportunity for you as a parent to improve your relationship with your kids. Thus, plan for direct conversations with your children because it will make them feel assured, safe, and loved. Consider doing the following:
- Set aside some time to talk to them
- Allow them to choose their activities because it builds their self-confidence
- Tell them a story, sing together, go for a run, a walk, or dance together
- Switch off the TV and your phones and do some chores together
It is also an excellent idea to help them with some schoolwork.
2. Stay Positive
Staying positive can be a challenge if your children are doing things that they should not or are driving you crazy. Here is how you can keep positive:
- Do not shout at them because they will get stressed and aggravated
- Praise them for doing something positive or for good behavior
- Do not force them to do things they cannot do
It is advisable to allow your kids to connect with their friends through social media or other means of communication.
3. Create a routine
The outbreak has interrupted your children’s school routines. As they stay at home, create routines that they can follow easily. For example:
- Create a schedule for doing specific activities during free time
- Encourage handwashing by making the whole practice fun
- Create time to exercise daily to help with stress
As a parent, practice hygiene and social distancing yourself, children easily learn when they copy it from you.
4. Know how to deal with bad behavior
Your children will misbehave at some point in this crisis. Here is how you can deal with it:
- Catch any misbehavior early and explain it to them
- Do not respond to them by screaming but by remaining calm
- Teach your children about responsibility and use consequences if they fail to do the right thing
You can reduce bad behavior by giving them chores, praising them for a job well done, and having face-to-face conversations.
5. Take care of yourself
The current crisis can be stressful for parents. To keep your children healthy, you should remain calm and manage stress.
- Take a break whenever your children are asleep or doing their homework
- Do some relaxation activities like yoga and deep breathing
Encourage yourself by understanding that millions of parents have the same fears. Talk to someone, listen to your children, and avoid information that creates panic and fear.
6. Talk to your children about COVID-19
Your kids are getting information about COVID-19 from many sources. As a parent, ensure they are getting reliable information.
- Give them the freedom to talk about the pandemic and ask questions
- Give them honest answers about COVID-19 pandemic. If you do not know the answers, inform them of the same.
- Support them whenever they feel confused or scared
- Ask them questions to figure out what they know about the pandemic
- Tell them positive stories of people helping to fight the outbreak
It is not helpful to avoid the topic or keep secrets from your kids because it is not an effective way of protecting them.
The health and safety of your children should be a priority during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can keep your kids healthy by having one-on-one conversations with them, engaging in activities, and creating routines. Overall, it is also helpful that you remain calm and manage stress.