Schools Shut, No Outdoors: A Guide To Keeping Your Children Engaged At Home
A mental health expert’s tips on how to use this time to bond better with your children and together embrace a healthy lifestyle
The rapid spread of coronavirus globally has triggered widespread panic. In India, many state governments have asked schools to remain closed in a bid to check the spread of the virus.
In these times of social distancing and being confined at home, parents are grappling with another worry—how to keep their children engaged.
Prolonged stay at home, the frustration of not getting to meet friends, boredom, lack of information, the fear of getting infected, lack of personal space can affect the psychological health of children and adolescents. To counter this, parents can take these important steps:
Communication Is the Key
Tell your children they are staying home not just for their well-being but also for the well-being of others. State the facts clearly, but avoid creating panic and fear in their minds.
Use this time to teach your children the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and good personal hygiene. Avoid helicopter parenting and give children the space they need.
Family as a Team
Use this time to know your children better. Encourage them to discuss their anxieties with you. This is time to stay strong together. Play board-games with your children, try and have dinner together—all this will help strengthen the family bond.
Encouraging your children to exercise regularly, be it yoga or a workout at home, can help putting their mind at ease. Eating healthy and maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help your children in the long run.
Quick Tips For You And Your Children
- Allow children to participate in planning day-to-day home-based activities
- Be non-judgmental towards children and promote proactive communication
- Take a break from stressful situations
- Build a network of friends
- Follow a strict advisory on sanitation and hygiene
- Exercise or do yoga – 15 to 20 minutes daily
- Learn breathing exercises and eat healthy
- Avoid excess caffeine
- Avoid anti-anxiety drugs, alcohol and tobacco
Jitendra Nagpal is Senior Consultant Psychiatrist and Incharge of the Institute of Child Development and Adolescent Health at Moolchand Medcity, New Delhi