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July 19, 2021

By Dr. Sandip Gupta

Parenting in COVID time-What parents can do?

COVID-19 pandemic has affected the entire world. Countries are implementing temporary shutdowns to prevent social gathering, decrease mortality, and curb the growth of the virus. Since, educational institutions are closed, and social gathering has been prohibited, children have been staying inside home for the past 11 months depending upon internet for social networking. It should be understood that children of any age needs exposure to practical life situations to gain experience and increase their social circle.

Children may get depressed because of not able to move out from their house and enjoy the nature. Online education has been practiced recently; however the need to discuss and socialize with other fellow mates is a natural instinct of humans. Thus, children may feel low, lethargic, or may be feeling negative energy towards life because of confinement within the walls of their house.

As a parent, it is your responsibility to understand your child during these tough times and help him/her to develop social skills. Moreover, this COVID-19 has led to job loss of many people. If you are a parent to a child and have lost your job recently, please do not panic and stress your child out although it is understandable that you must be going through a financial stress. Go easy on kids. Below are some of the parenting tips during the time of pandemic.

PARENTING TIPS

  • Allow your child to talk freely and ask questions to you. It is better to understand what your child knows about the present situation of the pandemic. This will boil down to a point where you can conclude how socially active your child is and what parts you need to focus on to create awareness among the child.
  • As a parent, always try to answer the truth to the questions they ask. Depending on their age, you can decide how much information to share. But parents should not cook stories as an answer to the child’s question.
  • If your child asks you question for which you do not have any answer. Please accept in front of your child that you do not have the right answer at this moment and will let him/her know after getting a correct answer. This will educate the child that it is perfectly normal to not know the answer of every question and this is an opportunity to learn new things.
  • Always give answer to your child on questions related to COVID-19 after referring from valid sources like the UNICEF, WHO, and CDC.
  • Educate your child on why is it important to wear mask, maintain social distancing and wash hands with sanitizers before eating food and after coming to home from outside for 20 seconds. Incorporate good hygiene habits.
  • Educate your child to use handkerchief or tissue paper while coughing and before sneezing. Children learn from their surroundings. Make sure you and other elders behave the same.
  • Make your child feel that he/she is safe with you. Play indoor games, have meals together and keep your child happy. Keep your child active.
  • Talk with a pediatrician and find out if it is necessary to go for a flu vaccine for your child.
  • Understand the social, emotional, and mental health challenges faced by your child during COVID-19. Build a healthy relationship between you and your child.
  • If the school is providing education through online mode, make sure to check on the progress of your child in his/her learning after the class is over. Help them with their homework. Give feedback to the institution regarding their teaching style and problems or benefits received by your child through the classes.
  • Reach out safely or via phone, email, or social media and exchange tips for keeping kids focused and engaged. Depending on the restrictions in your area, you may also want to organize a virtual activity or study group, which has the added bonus of providing social interaction for your child. Collaborating with other parents may help you feel less isolated as well.
  • Create a learning and physical activity routine for your child. This will give the kid a sense of normalcy.
  • This pandemic has taught us the importance of working in a team. This can also be incorporated in the family to teach children the importance of team play. Set small goals and try to achieve them with the help of your kids and later celebrate them.
  • Make children draw or write essay on COVID-19 or teach them gardening or basic life hack skills. This is the good time.
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