My child at home during COVID 19

Various parents have become more concerned regarding their children’s behaviour during lockdown. Parents are asking themselves various questions, such as “Why is my child not motivated to do their schoolwork?” or “Why is my 4-year-old so clingy?” or “How come my adolescent is so resistant towards me?”. Altogether, you are not alone.

Parents first need to realise that this COVID 19 situation is just as nerve-wracking for a child as it is for a parent, since they also do not know what to do. Your child is looking towards YOU during this uncertain situation and as a result you need to become aware of your own emotions and behaviour to help them as well as yourself. It may not seem like it, but your anxiety, frustration and stress are rubbing off on them which is portrayed in their behaviour. A child might be whining for your attention since they view home as the place where their parents have always given them their attention, but all of a sudden “Mommy and Daddy need to work and do not want to play with them.” An adolescent might become more resistant as they miss their friends and interacting with them, and now they feel as though they do not have privacy because their parents are always at home and do not understand them.

Here are some tips to help your child while they are at home:

1. Allow your child to learn from their mistakes

Parents always want to help their children before they make a mess of something, however making mistakes is part of life. This will allow your child to build resilience as well as a good self-esteem, because they feel that they have the ability to overcome obstacles.

2. Give your child choices

If you give your child at least three options when asking them to do things, they are more inclined to choose the best option as they believe that they are in control. For example: You can either do your schoolwork in the mornings and have the afternoon free; or you can leave your schoolwork for the afternoon when I can help you; or you can leave your schoolwork for after dinner and fall asleep while doing it.

3. Keep a routine

Most families have disrupted their schedule during the lockdown, but this just confuses the children as there is no structure which usually provides them with a sense of safety.

4. Keep them calm

Our children are just as scared as we are concerning COVID 19. It is important for parents to reassure them by telling them that they might get it, but that most people are surviving this sickness and especially children. It is important to tell them that they should do everything they can to prevent it by washing their hands, wearing a mask, and not touching others.

5. Allow your child to get bored

Parents have run out of ideas to keep their children entertained at home, and it is fine. Allow your child to become bored as this will provide them the opportunity to become creative and find alternative ways to do things, which will build their self-esteem and make them more resilient.

6. Allow them to connect with others

Parents were taught that social media and technology is evil, but it is the only way that children are legally allowed to communicate with one another within seconds. Allow your child to have some screen-time with friends. A parent can still monitor a child’s screen-time with various applications that you can download, which also allows you to monitor the apps which they access, thus giving a parent some control.

7. Ask them to reflect

When your child is frustrated or throwing a tantrum, ask them to explain what they are feeling and what is making them feel this way. If a child can connect a feeling to the thing causing it, they are more likely to feel in control of the situation, which makes them feel empowered.

8. Make exercise part of your daily routine

Children like to be active and run around. Include some fun activities such as kids yoga, walking the dog or playing eye-spy while walking around the block to keep them active.

These are just a few ideas to help you as a parent during this uncertain time. Please feel free to contact us for more information if you are concerned about your child’s well-being.