Helping Your Child Adapt to Life During the Pandemic
Adjusting to the effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our daily lives has been a challenge for everyone. This time can be especially confusing and foreign to children who have had to follow new rules they may not even fully understand. It is important to help your child adapt to these unprecedented times in the best way you can. Approaching this topic with your kids may seem intimidating. Following these tips will provide you with some great ways to offer your support to your children in a useful and efficient way.
Keep Talking to Your Child
Maintaining an open communication with your child about how they are feeling is always important, but it is especially significant during these confusing and scary times. When approaching conversations about COVID-19 with your child it is important to make them feel like their emotions and concerns are valid and that you are there for them.
Whether they are feeling scared, sad, confused, or frustrated, remind your child that everybody is having a difficult time getting used to these changes. Let them know that they are not alone in their feelings. Keep answering the questions your child may come to you with, and provide them with age appropriate updates on the news or changes to the COVID-19 situation. This will all help them to better understand what is going on around them and help to reduce their anxiety or sadness. For example, telling a child they need to start wearing a mask may feel to them like something out of a scary movie. Explaining to them the purpose of wearing a mask in a way that they can understand will make it seem less strange. For example, tell your child that they are like a superhero, who needs to keep all of the tiny germ villains away from them so they can keep the whole city safe! This will help your child feel that wearing a mask isn’t so scary, while at the same time still getting the message across to them that it will protect them and those around them.
Furthermore, make sure you are asking your child questions about what they have learned about the pandemic from other sources. It is to be expected that they may have heard something at school from a friend that isn’t completely true. Debunk any myths they may hear that could be scaring them.
Maintain a Regular Routine
Setting a scheduled routine for your child to do things such as wake up, go to bed, and eat their meals will help them to feel more in control of their daily life. Furthermore, allocating times for fun activities and hobbies will leave things for your child to look forward to throughout the day.
Making a daily schedule is also a great opportunity to help your child get more into the habit of doing things relevant to the pandemic. For example, making it a core part of their routine to wash their hands before and after eating, or as soon as they come home from school. Keeping your child busy throughout the day will also prevent them from overthinking about the scary aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Encourage Your Child to do Things They Love
Thinking of fun activities to do with your child is great for providing a happy break away from the stresses of the pandemic by taking everyone’s mind off of things. This is also a perfect way to spend free time during the day while stuck at home during lockdown, or over the weekend while your child is unable to see their friends. These activities should be specifically tailored to your child to help them continue to do the things that will help them feel happiest. This could mean reading their favorite book together, playing their favorite board game, or even going for a walk outside.
Setting time aside to do activities with your child also gives them an opportunity to ask you questions or talk about their concerns regarding the pandemic. This will help make these conversations seem less like a big event, which can feel intimidating.
Arguably the most significant thing you can do to help your child feel better about changes during the pandemic is to reassure them that you are there there for them and are doing everything you can to ensure your whole family’s safety.
Furthermore, recognize that although these times are challenging and sometimes scary, they will not last forever. Also, highlight any positives that you can. For example, ask your child what part of returning to school they are most excited about.