How we deal with the coronavirus pandemic is changing daily affecting every single aspect of our lives; how we go about our business, how we work, socialise, eat and sleep. Our behaviours are changing too, as fear and panic set in we've seen a splurge of stockpiling, leaving shelves empty of everything from toilet roll to pasta!
Stress and Kids
The situation has swiftly seeped into our children’s lives too, effecting their social interactions and their education: last week my kids were gutted to learn that not only was their much anticipated school disco cancelled (yes the important stuff) but their music festival with a host of other schools is indefinitely post-poned. A big family gathering was cancelled last weekend in light of risk factors and older family members. My kids have expressed upset and anger at the impact it's already had and not being able to see their family and grandparents and they're asking lots of questions about what it is, who does it kill and are they going to die.
I wanted to give them facts and information to keep a sense of calm and whilst looking at the trusted sites for the latest advice and information, I saw that The World Health Organisation have issued a useful guide to HELP CHILDREN COPE WITH STRESS during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Whilst we are aware of the physical impact this is having on us and our children it is worth considering now, of the psychological impact it is having on our young kids minds too.
Reading the WHO advice, it made me appreciate how little minds might be going into overdrive with worry and below is a run down of some of the key points on how you can help your children.
Children respond to stress differently. They may display behaviours such as being more clingy, anxious, withdrawing, angry, agitated and bed wetting.
You can respond by supporting and listening to their concerns. Children need adults’ love and attention during difficult times so try to:
GIVE THEM EXTRA TIME LOVE AND ATTENTION
LISTEN TO YOUR CHILDREN
MAKE OPPORTUNITIES TO PLAY + RELAX
KEEP REGULAR ROUTINES and schedules as much as possible. Or create new ones in a new environment such as learning as well as time for safely playing and relaxing.
PROVIDE FACTS AND EXPLAIN about what’s happened, what’s going on now, give clear information about how to reduce risks in an age specific way. This includes providing information about what could happen e.g. if a family member were to get ill they would go to hospital so doctors can help them feel better.
Try and KEEP CHILDREN CLOSE TO THEIR PARENTS AND FAMILY and avoid separating children and their caregivers where possible. If separation occurs (e.g. hospitalisation) ensure regular contact and re-assurance.
So, as we are gearing up for potential school closures, frantically downloading the school curriculum and figuring out childcare solutions, let’s remember to give our children the extra time, love and attention they need to get through this.