The coronavirus pandemic has brought with it a lot of anxiety and uncertainty for everyone. Grown ups and children alike have had to come to terms with a new way of life: isolating themselves, being extra careful with hygiene and just trying to stay safe.
As parents, it’s easy to assume that our children will just go with the flow and adapt to spending all their time at home, missing school and not seeing their friends. What we might fail to realise is that just as we’re struggling during this time, so are our children.
So how do we help our kids cope during the COVID-19 lockdown? The National Emergency Response Team came out with some guidelines on how we can do this.
1. Reassure and comfort
It can be difficult to understand everything that is going on especially for a young mind. Be your kid’s source of reassurance and comfort. Explain things to them as best as they can understand.
2. Explain the safety measures
As you talk to your kids, explain the safety measures that they need to take to stay safe. Instead of just giving orders, explain why they need to wash their hands frequently, stay at home and not play with their friends, etc. Take your time to make sure they understand.
3. Answer their questions
Your children will have questions. Some they will ask multiple times. This is their way of understanding the things going on around them so don’t get impatient with them. Listen to them and answer them even if you’ve done it ten times already.
4. Continue with school work
The school term got interrupted but this doesn’t mean that our kids’ education should be put on the back burner. Continue their education by giving them school work to do. There are many lessons online and on the radio for various classes. Make use of these so that once schools reopen they haven’t forgotten everything.
5. Let them play
If you’re lucky to have a compound of your own, let your kids go outside for some fresh air and sunlight. Even if they can’t play with their friends they can still enjoy playtime. If you can’t go outside, let them play indoors and once they’re done, use the opportunity to teach them how to clean up after themselves.
6. Set routines
Without a routine and schedule, life can get chaotic particularly when we don’t know for how long we will need to live like this. Make a daily schedule and teach your children to follow a routine. Include time for studies, play and family in your schedule.
7. Show them love and affection
When you’re stressed you might just want to sit in your room and ruminate over these difficult times. However, it’s important to show your children some love. Give them hugs and cuddles and spend some time with them. This will help to reassure them and remind them that everything will be okay.