The global pandemic due to COVID-19 is raging over the entire world, and families are spending more time at home. The problem is about adapting to the new normal of the world, and it is even more difficult for children. Firstly, it is difficult to keep them busy, and more so when they are gearing up for the new academic year, and yet have to study remotely. While the specific ways in which the pandemic is affecting the mental health of children is still a mystery, experts have found a few tips for parents. These will help them to support children during these tough times.
Tips to keep your child’s mental health better
Check out the following points that will help you to keep your children busy and improve their mental health:
A proper daily routine
According to Dr. Anju Hurria, a proper routine is a huge thing, and maintaining strict sleep timings is very important. Dr. Hurria is a child psychiatrist who works at the University of California in Irvine. On the other hand, Dr. Kevin Simon, an adolescent and senior child psychiatry fellow at Children’s Hospital Boston also talk about the issue. He often advises parents about chalking out a proper schedule for children. Besides, being a fellow from the Harvard Medical School means he is no less than an expert in this department.
There is a point that is common between both Hurria’s and Simon’s schedule-making advice. They expect parents to maintain a chart on a proper whiteboard. So, as a parent, you have to write down the expected schedule for the child on that board. As a result, the kid knows exactly what he is supposed to do and when throughout the day. Besides, Dr. Anju Hurria believes that any schedule must have a proper balance. So, she suggests adding fun activities to a child’s daily routine to keep his energy level up.
According to Dr. Anju Hurria, parents must also participate in daily activities along with children. Plus, watching movies with them during the weekends is also something that keeps the kids going throughout the week. In this way, your child will be active throughout the week, and it will become easier for you to manage them too.
Physical activities are mandatory
While participating in physical activities keeps a child’s physical health better, it keeps them mentally healthy too. Well, people who live in cities and crowded places do not have access to personal backyards where children can play and burn off energy. However, there are other ways in which kids can do the same. You can encourage them to try jump rope, hopscotch, or hula hoop. Besides, playing music for 20-25 minutes, and the entire family dancing to it helps children to stay happy, and also burn some energy. As a result, they sleep well at night, and you can maintain a strict schedule as well.
Restrict negative news for better mental health
According to Dr. Francesca Okolie, a neonatologist at the University of Maryland Medical Center, kids must not come in contact with the controversial news that is spread by the media, and within a community. On the other hand, Dr. Anju Hurria pieces of advice parents to find ways in which they can empower their children. For example, you can teach your children good habits during this pandemic. Tell them the benefits of social distancing and keeping their hands clean. Moreover, you must practice the same habits to set an example for the little ones at home. Whatsoever, you should just make sure that your child does not take interest in the continuous news coverage shown on TV. Dr. Hurria adds that children find it difficult to cope with situations if they keep hearing depressing news. Several of them have come to her and complained that they need a break!
Maintain social connections
Nowadays, since everyone is staying back at home, kids are finding it difficult to connect with other people and the outside world. Dr. Anju Hurria, in this case, is suggesting parents create family trees and explain the same to their children. This is an activity by which children will get to know their relatives and extended families. It is also a way to tell your child that there are so many people who love them. Besides, video-conferencing is a great way to keep your children in contact with the rest of the family members. You can arrange online sleepovers, or playdates via video-conferencing too. For older children, they can enjoy walks with their friends by maintaining proper distancing.
Open dialogue sessions
Experts suggest that as a parent, you should be frank enough with your children. It will help them to share their life with you without any hesitation. Besides, irrespective of how busy you are, it is a must that you ask your children what is going on in their life. It is the responsibility of parents to find out if there is anything wrong with a child’s life. So, you can choose ways to climb that emotional ladder. For example, you can try and initiate a conversation with your child before bed, and discuss what good or bad is going on in their life. As a result, kids will also open up to you, and find ways to express themselves better.
Find goals in life
Now that there is more free time, you must, as a parent encourage your kids to grow interested in hobbies. You can discuss and find out what they are passionate about, and help them participate accordingly. Indulging in hobbies and activities help kids to explore their talents, and understand that there is a life outside. Assigning them small duties such as cleaning their rooms, and more are good ways to keep them busy.
Dr. Hurria says that in her opinion, most children seem to enjoy time with their parents who are busy otherwise. However, it is not the same in every case, but for people who think it is, they must indulge their children in big and small activities continuously.