By Sadie Hussain
It is equally important to help children cope with stress and protect them from the hysteria surrounding the pandemic. Below are some coping mechanisms that may be used:
- Answer questions and share facts about the pandemic in a way that children can understand.
- Respond to reactions in a supportive way, listen to concerns and give your children extra care, attention and support. Reassure your children that they are safe. Let them know it is okay if they feel upset.
- Share some of your coping mechanisms with them, teach them how you deal with stress so that they can learn how to cope with you.
- Maintain familiar routines in daily life as much as possible, or create new routines, especially if children must stay at home.
- Help them find positive ways to express feelings such as fear and sadness. Every child has his or her own way of expressing emotions. Engaging in creative activities, such as playing or drawing can facilitate this process whilst also learning. Children feel relieved if they can express and communicate their feelings in a safe and supportive environment.
- Maintain regular contact with friends and family, such as twice-daily scheduled telephone or video calls or other age-appropriate communication in order to maintain some normality and to foster an interactive environment.
During times of stress and crisis, it is common for children to seek more attachment and be more demanding on parents.
Discuss the pandemic with your children in an honest and age-appropriate manner. If your children have concerns, addressing them together may ease their anxiety. Children will observe adults’ behaviors and emotions for cues on how to manage their own emotions during difficult times and therefore your wellbeing is of paramount importance and particularly during this time.
- The above advice should not be considered as a comprehensive report or medical advice concerning issues that may affect physical and mental wellbeing.