Due to Covid-19, the entire World is undergoing a crisis and children of every age are also not left untouched. They are feeling more stressed or anxious in this Covid-19 era. Their daily routine is disrupted which is leading to abnormal behavioral changes. Parents need to keep a close watch on their children & check for these symptoms like excessive worry, restlessness, fatigue, difficulty in concentrating, trouble in sleeping, addiction of Social Media/web series/online games. Also, you need to know that signs of stress and anxiety can look different in every child especially depending upon their age.
During this time of unprecedented change, you have to make an effort to encourage healthy habits such as following regular sleeping schedule, intake of proper nutrition & Regular physical activity. Also speak to your child and assure him/her that this difficult time will also not last for long, it shall also pass. Work with you child to create a new daily schedule & routine and also help them follow it. Help your child to take control of things, as they say “when going is tough the tough gets going”. Teach them coping Skills such as breathing exercise and encourage positive thinking.
Make an effort to help your child to understand that Social Distancing does not mean isolation, encourage them to connect with friends and loved ones, in a different way such as video chats, virtual platforms or sending an E card or an email.
If your child is missing an important milestone such as Birthday or graduation ceremony or any planned family get together or a family outing etc. you have to look for creative ways to involve friends and family in this celebration. Ask your child how they are feeling and let them know its ok to be sad or disappointed, but also reassure them that its not happening to them alone. Look around its restricting & testing time for everyone.
Simply being there for your child and listening to them can go a long way in supporting them through this time. Play Indoor games with them encourage them to even try the traditional Indian indoor games, they are fun too, which parents also played when they were child. Such as Hide and seek, Chidiya uud, kancha hitting etc. etc. Making an art piece with them is also an important gesture, this not only will create fantabulous memory for future but also take out the hidden Picasso in your child, you never know, what’s hidden behind their brain. Taking online professional certification courses such as learning Computer coding, Learning another language, taking cookery classes etc will not only be fun but also help them in their future profiling as well.
Types of Anxiety, generally observed during this Covid era in Children
- Health Anxiety
- Separation Anxiety
- Back to school Anxiety
- Coping up with online – offline and again online education system
- Social Anxiety
- Grief of loosing a friend or family member
- Body Dysmorphia Disorder
- Suicidal Thoughts
- Coping up with New normal
- Dealing with Parental Fights
- Web series Addiction
- Social media Addiction
- Eating disorder
I would want to elaborate some more on the warning signals in behavior of kids, which should raise your eyebrows and you need to watch it closely & work for resolution, before it gets worse.
- Sudden withdrawal from family and friends (Non Participative)
- Disinterest in former pastime or hobbies
- Prolonged episodes of sadness or anger
- Change in sleeping patterns, either increased or decreased
- Abrupt increase or decrease in appetite
- Lashing out at others for no reasons
- Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
- Watching Porn
- Use of Alcohol and other controlled substances
- Arguing in every small things on day to day routine
- Too much mobile savvy
- Posting every small details on social media (Social media Addiction)
- Misbehaving and not ready to listen
- Extremely demanding
- Getting too emotional
- Self harm (Injury)
The author is Amitta Shringi, Psychologist, based in Jaipur.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The opinions do not reflect the views of India TV )