As the pandemic continues, here’s how you must take care of your child’s mental health
The second wave of Covid has given rise to more traumatic experiences and incidences than the first one. In such a scenario, people are more prone to getting mentally affected—this time around, children and adolescents are also victims. When we talk about mental health issues we often associate it with adults, because there’s a certain perception that only we face real life issues. On the other hand, children are always perceived as cheerful and lost in their own world. But guess what? We never know what their world looks like.
Children and adolescents have also been greatly impacted by the abrupt withdrawal from school, social life and outdoor activities. The sudden shift to online schooling, not being able to meet their friends and other family members who live far away, has led to anxiety and stress in children, which in turn, is visible through their mood swings and stubborn behaviour.
Children’s mental health reacts even to the slightest negativity. They have a lot of free time to overthink about the negativity around, and now since covid is taking a toll on children, it might make them feel unsafe and scared.
What should you do in this case?
Detect signs in your child, keep a track on their activities so that you can help them out accordingly. See if your child is sleeping excessively or not sleeping at all, irritability, social isolation, complaints of nightmares, headache and stomach ache without any physical cause, lack of concentration, excessive clinging, unnecessary and uneventful crying episodes, and violence.
If you notice any of these in your child, it’s time you pull them out of the fear and darkness. Here’s how:
1. Talk to them: The most basic yet the best way to help anyone out of negativity is to communicate with them. Talk to your kids about what is going on with them, they might not talk in the beginning but they will, once they realise that you’re with them.
2. Create a schedule: Children had a routine back when things were normal. Like going to school, then tutions, playtime, home work and so on. Now, with all the changes and not being able to go out or meet their friends, they do have a lot of free time wondering and worrying about things they shouldn’t. Hence, create a schedule for them so that they can spend time in meaningful activities to keep themselves engaged.
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3. Engage them in indoor activities: There are endless indoor activities for your kids. For example: solve puzzles, dance together, and sing together even if you’re a horrible singer. Have fun movie nights every weekend, teach them basic life skills like cleaning their room, helping others out, planting and DIY activities. There are endless possibilities.
4. Do things together: When you try to engage your children in activities, don’t make them do it, do it with them. Children enjoy when adults give them attention, and let them be a part of their routine. Instead of cooking for them, cook with them, workout together, have meals together. Little things like these won’t just bring joy to them, but also to you and other family members.
5. Gratitude: Teach them to practice gratitude, make this a part of their schedule and yours as well. Every night before sleeping, count on your blessings. Think about how blessed you are to have all the things that you have. Even in the darkest times, there is always something to be grateful for.
6. Help them connect with their friends: They obviously miss their friends. Help them connect with their friends on a video call, every few days. Let them talk and share their cute stories. You could also arrange online games for them to play with their friends.
7. Keep them updated: Don’t expose them to the media, be their media. That’s because exposing them to news might leave a negative impact. Instead of hiding the facts and giving false hope, tell them about the current happenings that you think they can handle, and reassure them that this is a phase that will pass, and that you are with them.