Home quarantined! Schools closed! Parks closed! Businesses closed!
Just mentioning these is stressing me. But do you know that children who are quarantined with us at home are experiencing distress as well? A recent study published that children had increased depression and anxiety tendencies during COVID (CoronaVirus Disease) quarantine. That’s why I’ve written some mental health articles devoted to you -mummies. So you can support the mental health of your children during this pandemic?
Childhood Mental Health Disruption
We were given only one day until our government implemented a movement control order. This includes shutting down schools and other establishments that are not essential. My children had no opportunity to say goodbye to their teachers, friends, and classmates. I had anxiety over the pandemic that caught the whole world in a state of panic. But I know what was happening. I understand that these are necessary to combat COVID.
But children will have difficulty understanding the sudden change in their routine. Emotions suddenly ran high inside the family. Children can overhear conversations about COVID from adults or the news. And without proper support, these can all be too much for their young minds to process.
This health article will help you identify signs of children’s distress and tips on how to support your child during this COVID.
Emotional Distress in Children
Mummies, you can take clues from your children’s behavior to know about their mental health. It will be very unlikely for very young children to verbalize and process their emotions. So it is up to us, as their parents, to provide support during this quarantine.
Here are some behaviors that can clue us of children’s anxiety.
Sleep disturbances occur in many forms. It could be a difficulty in sleeping, constant waking, nightmares, and bed-wetting.
A child throws tantrums when they are highly emotional and could not identify their feelings. They can show resistance or anger to anything or may always cry for everything.
A child may show signs of withdrawal if his/her environment does not indicate support. You may notice your child to be less interactive and may have full interest in activities that he/she does alone.
Supporting Mental Health In Children
Since our children are isolated away from their friends and outdoor activities, it is our job to support them. Here are some ways to help children manage anxiety:
Acknowledge Their Emotions
Acknowledge that your children are having a hard time during this time. Be calm and provide reassurance that you understand them. Help them to recognize and express their emotions. Be honest and explain how you feel about quarantine. This way, they get the idea that talking about their feelings is okay.
Keep up their routines
Disruption in their routine is the most difficult for them. So keep up with their habits that you can still do at home. Follow with the usual waking and sleeping time. Provide their snack in time with their usual recess. And do learning activities during the day.
Help them stay connected
Avoid withdrawal by helping them stay connected to the family and their friends. You can use digital platforms to call friends and relatives. You can also play with them with games to help them interact with the family. This health article has resources to help you with activities.vParents are the role models for children, especially during this quarantine. They usually mimic our responses to different situations. That’s why you also need to apply coping mechanisms during this pandemic.
Checkout more of my health articles on self-care that you can try.