Discuss, Engage & Reassure: UNICEF on Parenting Amid COVID-19
UNICEF advises to creating a safe environment at home & better engagement with children on COVID-19.
Amid all the noise around COVID-19, it is quite natural for children to feel confused and anxious. With the lockdown imposed in many parts of the world, children are unable to go to school, their friends' house and for outdoor activities - this makes them even more vulnerable to sadness.
If your children are spending a lot of time watching television in this free time, there are great chances that they would have many questions around coronavirus and its larger implications on their day-to-day life in the coming months.
The United Nations Children's Fund or UNICEF, a United Nations agency responsible for providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children says that having open supportive discussions with your children can help them cope with uneasy emotions in these testing times.
UNICEF advises to creating a safe environment at home among family members and better engagement with children on COVID-19.
It says, "If you can’t answer their (children's) questions, don’t guess. Use it as an opportunity to explore the answers together."
Here are some more tips that UNICEF gives for parenting during the coronavirus outbreak:
Show them how to protect themselves and their friends. Encourage regular handwashing with soap and water. You can sing or dance while washing hands to make it fun.
Make a routine for your child. Routine helps children cope with situations. Let there be time for play and time for creative work.
Children may not distinguish between images on screen and their own personal reality, and they may believe they’re in imminent danger. Offer them reassurance and say you know it is hard (maybe scary or even boring) at times, but that following the rules will help keep everyone safe.
Check that your children are neither experiencing nor contributing to bullying.
Share stories of kindness with them such as stories of health workers, teachers and young people, among others, who are working to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep the community safe.
As your conversation wraps up, try to gauge their level of anxiety by watching their body language, considering whether they’re using their usual tone of voice.
While Parenting, Don't Forget Yourself
UNICEF also points out that it is paramount for parents to take care of their needs.
"If you’re feeling anxious or upset, take time for yourself and reach out to other family, friends and trusted people in your community. Make some time to do things that help you relax and recuperate", UNICEF advises to parents.
As a parent, you can read to the child, play indoor games with them, do gardening, etc.
Children pick up parents' response to the news, so make sure you are calm and in control during this pandemic.
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