Like adults, children are also not accustomed to staying at home for so many months at a stretch. It is a difficult time for them. They cannot meet and play with their friends in school. They cannot go out and roam around like they used to before. The concept of remote learning is also new to them.
Plus, there is one more thing that you have to understand as a parent. They do not have a habit of staying at home 24*7 or seeing your face all the time. As a result, they are also having adjustment issues.
Covid-19 has created a stressful situation for both adults and children. Adults can still try to manage themselves somehow. At least they know where and how to get help. Children do not know anything. They do not know if they are stressed or how to deal with it. They are ignorant and helpless.
So, as a parent, you have a big responsibility. You have to help children manage stress and anxiety for their mental wellbeing. And if you have no idea about how to do it, then take a look at the below-given section.
How Do Children React To Stress And Anxiety?
Children can react to stress and anxiety in various ways. For example,
1. They can get angry and irritated.
2. They may tend to become clingy.
3. They may have bedwetting issues.
4. They may become anxious and tense over trivial matters.
5. You may notice mood swings in them.
6. You may also observe changes in their sleep patterns.
7. You may find a loss of appetite in children.
Tips To Help Children Manage Stress And Anxiety
Here are a few sensible tips to help children manage stress and anxiety.
1. Give loads of love and attention as children need a lot of reassurance.
Difficult times create abnormal situations. Covid-19 has created a scenario where people are facing a tough time to cope with the new normal situation. Imagine the condition of children. They do not even know how to deal with unknown fears. Give them loads of love and attention. They need extra care now. Make them feel loved and cherished.
Speak kindly to your children. Reassure them that you are there. Listen to them with a patient ear and try to offer solutions to their worries. Make sure you respond to your children’s concerns in an empathetic way. Give them extra time, love, and attention. Play with children and do various activities to help them relax.
2. Encourage kids to express themselves when they are worried.
When your children are worried and anxious, let them express their worries. Try to avoid saying something like, “Why are you so worried all the time? There is nothing to worry about. Stop crying or whining all the time. It is disgusting.” Statements like these will hurt them emotionally.
Plus, these statements may aggravate their anxiety all the more. They may feel that you are not ready to understand their feelings.
Adopt a sympathetic attitude and ask them why they are stressed. Learn to forgive your kids even when they throw tantrums due to a shaky mental state. Have an open discussion with children about their biggest fears, anxieties, and worries. See also: Keep Your Mental Health Strong In 2020
3. Let children interact with friends and family members
Let your children be in touch with family, friends, grandparents, relatives, and caregivers. They are all an integral part of your children’s life. So, you should try to avoid separating your children from them as much as possible.
If a child is unable to meet their friends and relatives physically due to Covid-19, then you can arrange a video call through various social media platforms. Always reassure them that everyone is with them.
4. Create a routine for children to get adjusted to the new normal situation.
Create a daily routine for children so that they know what they are expected to do every day. It gives them a sense of security and regularity. The fear of unknown bugs children.
So, create a new routine keeping the new environment in mind. Make sure you do not overschedule your children. They should have plenty of time to play and relax as well. Set a routine for remote learning, playing, eating, playing games, and sleeping.
Do not put too much pressure on the children. They need to rest and rejuvenate. Children will not understand this by themselves. So, as a parent, you have to create a routine where the children are not overscheduled.
Even when children go back to school, you have to again change the routine for them. That will again be a massive change for them. So, you have to create a routine in such a way that children can adapt to it without getting stressed.
5. Make sure your children sleep for seven to eight hours a day.
Sleep is a great stress reliever. It allows our bodies to rest and recharge our brains. Children need to rest and recharge their brains to improve school performance. Sleep helps to repair tired muscles, boost memory, and improve mood. Make sure your children sleep for seven to eight hours every night. Chronic sleep deprivation may aggravate stress and anxiety.
So, when you are creating a routine for children, check if they are getting enough time to rest and sleep. If your children are not getting enough sleep, then that is a warning sign. Try to find out the reason why children are unable to get adequate sleep. Is it because they are overscheduled? Is it due to stress? Is it due to the lack of a peaceful environment at home?
You should create a peaceful environment that facilitates sleep. Turn off the smartphone and TV in the bedroom so that there are no disturbances.
6. Speak about the positive things in life to reduce negative thoughts.
One positive thought is a hundred times more powerful than one negative thought. Anxious and stressed children often harbor negative thoughts and indulge in self-criticism. They tend to focus more on the negative attributes of life than the positives. Those negative thoughts aggravate the stress and anxiety-related issues of children.
Covid-19 has created a very challenging situation for everybody. Social media platforms are full of demoralizing news. So, as a parent, you have to tackle your kids tactfully. Despite the several challenges that we all are facing, you should discuss the positive aspects of life with your children.
Appreciate the good qualities of your children. Praise them wholeheartedly. Talk about the positive sides of the situation. Tell them that you are happy to spend so much time with them. You are enjoying all the moments with them. That will help your children to think about the current situation from a different perspective.
Also, do not talk about the death tolls 24*7. While it is essential to educate them about the importance of social distancing, it is not required to discuss unemployment and deaths all the time. Make them understand the various ways to reduce the risk of getting infected so that they do not get overstressed and anxious.
A disorganized home and a chaotic environment create stress in children, which is quite evident in the mornings. And that is because the morning sets the tone of the day. Try to create a peaceful environment at home, especially in the mornings. Avoid having serious discussions with family members in front of the children in the morning.
Again, wake up children at least 20 to 30 minutes before school hours so they can get some time to focus on school-related activities.
Author Bio: Ralph Macey, a professional writer since 2008 and medical health/patient care coordinator at savantcare.com since 2014, writes articles on mental health, depression, and anxiety. He holds a degree and two professional certifications in his field and continues to upgrade his knowledge with additional classes and seminars. He has provided mental health consultations and private fitness instructions for free in his local community.