Posted on: Saturday, May 2nd, 2020
COVID-19 has made tremendous impacts on the lives of Canadians and others around the world in a variety of different ways. Children and youth have been directly impacted and they are facing major change and grief during this time. They are adjusting to the change of not going to school and pursuing it online, extra-curricular activities being cancelled or postponed, being forced to stay home, losing social interactions with their friends and peers, and adjusting to many more results of COVID-19. It is important for children and youth to have adequate support during the pandemic so they can properly cope and adjust to the changes they are facing.
Parents, guardians and other role models can leave a meaningful impact on the lives of children by following important steps to help children feel comfortable expressing themselves during COVID-19. It will be beneficial for parents and guardians to educate themselves on the pandemic, number of cases in their area, and risks of getting it so they can properly inform their children. Then, it is crucial for parents to create a safe space to talk about the virus with their children, such as allowing their children to open up about their fears and going through the steps that would be taken if someone got the virus.
Parents are likely spending more time with their children due to the physical distancing restrictions and working from home, so there are some important things to consider while giving children the emotional support they need. Empowering children to make their own decisions can go a long way as many of them are dealing with grief and losing a sense of control due to the various changes occurring. Saving time for children to play will help them make up the playtime they usually have during school or with friends. Some ways of ensuring that your kids fulfill their playtime is to make time to play outside, play a board game, or do a hobby/activity that the children enjoy together. Regulating the media exposure that children are seeing is very important so that children do not get overwhelmed with information about the virus, causing unnecessary stress. Finding a balance of educational media and entertainment media would help children to continue learning at home and staying busy. Some free educational websites to consider are: Brain Pop (https://www.brainpop.com/), Fun Brain (https://www.funbrain.com/), and Highlights Kids (https://www.highlightskids.com/)
So parents, when you see your children struggling during the pandemic, remind them that these are extraordinary circumstances and we are all doing the best we can. Give your children and especially yourself some slack if things aren’t going exactly as you hoped they would with online school work, extra screen time and everything else that is new to your at-home schedule. We are all trying our best to get through this together!