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Top 10 Tips to Reduce Anxiety in Children During COVID-19
Not just the children but the grown ups too have undergone tremendous anxiety and uncertainty during Covid-19 sudden outbreak. There had been multiple factors responsible for unsettling human lives throughout the world. Many people fell prey to infection, many lost lives and still many were left jobless. The economies of even most promising nations crashed and many businesses slammed shut. People were made to cut social ties and were restricted indoors for months. The obligatory lockdown fell heavy on the mental health of several people.
All this being sudden and unexpected resulted in a risen level of anxiety among the people. Child psychologists sensed a sharp increase in the anxiety levels of children and alarming reports testified their worries. Children are silent observers and make their own interpretations. The elders have a significant role to play in controlling anxiety among children during the pandemic times. Here is what they should do to help children cope with anxiety better.
1 - Do Not Show your Nervousness to ChildrenIt is natural to become anxious and apprehensive during challenging times. People who lost their jobs or just fell victims to Coronavirus are more prone to stress and nervousness. But showing this stress and confusion to children will do more harm than good. With children at home, you should be aware about how children react to your behaviour. Children are quick in forming their opinions and may not tell you at all. So, instead of showing your anxiety to your children, behave normal and smile in front of them.
It is not healthy to continuously discuss your sinking physical, psychological, and financial condition with your family in the presence of small children. Most younger children consider their elders, especially fathers to be so strong and unshakable to whom nothing can affect. Such children find it utterly difficult to process if the elders show their trembling condition. This comes heavy on the psyche of the children and they get confused and anxious. So, instead of involving your children, you should better focus on solving your problem with substantial way outs.
2 - Learn a Bit of Child PsychologyThe times tell us that every family having small and adolescent children at home must know some basics of child psychology. Depending upon what age group children are there in the family, the elders must study a bit, discuss with the child psychologists and update themselves through authentic sources about the behaviour patterns and thinking lines of children. Also, the elders must be able to decipher the signs of stress in their children. The elders ought to be educated on when to seek professional help.
3 - Look for Early Signs of AnxietyThis point is related to the discussion in the above paragraph. Only an aware and updated parent or guardian will be able to decode the early signs of anxiety in the children in the family. The elders must not ignore if the child is showing the following signs:
- Sudden changes in behavior
- The child is becoming increasing irritable
- The child starts crying often
- The child remains silent for long
- The child is not showing interest in daily activities
- Lack of concentration in studies
- Not showing interest in playing
- The child is avoiding mixing with others or preferring isolation
- Falling grades in studies
- The child has changed food habits or shows aversion to food.
- Get to know the warning signs in your children like biting nails, sleep disturbances, throwing tantrums, meltdowns and worrying excessively.
4 - Befriend your Children and Talk It Out
5 - Keep them Busy in Pleasing ActivitiesHuman brain being wired to work constantly is impossible for us to shut off. The best we can do is engage it in positive and bright things. The negativities will wane away. If the child is passing through an anxiety phase, make him/her busy with the activities that keep him/her delighted and motivated. It may be hobbies like gardening, reading and playing or creative crafts like painting, making best out of waste things etc. This will keep the child occupied with a little time to delve on de-stressing things.
6 - Make an Improvised Routine During Lock downThe pandemic and lock down have shut life indoors to much extent. The routines are changed and the rules of working and studying norms are all redefined. Do not make the mistake of letting your daily chores go unplanned now. Make schedules as per the new conditions. Let the child slide smoothly into the revised schooling and classes methods like online sessions. Let there be a study and playing time at home. Make revised and improvised routines and do not let indiscipline creep in. New routines will look normal after some times but a lack of any time table will show results soon in the form of decreased output and increased anxiety.
7 - Devote More Time for ChildrenIf the child is showing signals of aloofness or confusion, maybe he/she is struggling or toiling with something inside. The changed circumstances and your changed routines might be tormenting him/her. Not all children share with the elders what they are going through. Your responsibility in such a situation is to devote some more time to the child so that you may fill up his/her emptiness and de-stressing moments. Show the child your time is his/hers and you care a lot for your child. If you are able to cheer your child up, compliment yourself. Teach the children some of the workable therapies like deep breathing and counting if they counter anxiety.
8 - Involve them in Household Chores
9 - Teach them the Importance of Health and SafetyAll throughout these steps that help your child cope better with anxiety effectively, do not forget to educate him/her on the significance of good health and safety precautions. True, this needs a tactic and easy approach which the child may comprehend. Do not be preachy and never ever scare the child with dreaded words which might be circulating on media and messages. If needed, seek the help of child psychologists. Make your child aware of the benefits of sanitization and safety measures. Show him/her how you can stay safe by wearing a mask. Teach him/her how social distancing can help us stay away from infections. Do not say “If you do not wear a mask, you will be in real trouble…” but say “Wearing a mask will keep you safe...” Use positive and reassuring words and avoid consequential and harsh terms.
If the child has to be isolated somehow due to hospitalization or quarantine protocol, the elders should ensure to stay connected through maximum permissible visits, being in touch on phone and keeping the child cheerful and motivated.
10 - Ensure they Stay Away from Negative NewsThere has been an increasing trend today to flash each and everything on social media. Also, there is a plethora of news channels and similar platforms which are throwing news senselessly and circulating fake and untrustworthy figures. As a concerned parent/guardian, you should keep restraint on the use of unreliable news factories available in your phones, computers and laptops. Remember, a child may not be able to filter true from the false and may end up believing all what is being served. So, ensure your child is not served damaging content.
Well, these are some of the real -world suggestions to keep a check on any anxiety sneaking into the tender mind of your child. With a positive approach and compassionate mind setup, these tips help a lot but, at times, they might not suffice. If you feel your strategies are falling short, please consult a child psychologist who are experts in assessing, diagnosing and managing anxiety and other behavior related issues of children. Moversfolder strives to ensure the safety of children.
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