Undergoing the current situation, the way COVID -19 Pandemic has caused massive destruction worldwide and an enormous amount of chaos in our lives. Living life, the unusual way, continues to be challenging for everybody. But the psychological effects of the pandemic on kids and adults are such that it has forced us to accept this new normal way of living.
Humans, being social by nature, like to meet people and mingle with them. Keeping them restricted to one particular place, even if it’s your home, is against nature. Look at the irony, this very nature (The Current Pandemic) is forcing us not to come closer and maintain physical distance.
Though lockdown has been lifted in most parts of the world, yet life is still not easy for any of us. Soon we might have a vaccine to tackle the deadly viral spread, but as of now staying physically distant is the only precaution, we can take to keep ourselves safe. In such a dreadful situation, nothing seems more important to me, than keeping my family’s safety intact, and I guess for you, too, for that matter.
The psychological effects of the pandemic on my kids
This deadly pandemic has adversely affected most of us in many diverse ways. I’m being a parent, most concerned about its effect on my children’s mental state. Like adults, children also need some exposure to the outside world. Staying confined to their homes all the time can make them restless, anxious, and make them behave erratic.
The physical activities had stopped
There was a time when their daily routine comprised several activities which included attending school, hanging around with friends, hobby classes, playing outdoors, and much more. Playing and hanging around with friends is a sheer joy for kids.
- My children, though we’re well aware of the catastrophe occurring around them, keeping them stay at home for their safety, was a tough task. Like us, life has taken an abrupt turn for them too.
- As much as my 14-year-old son loved playing Badminton and Basketball with his friends, my 9-year-old daughter too never failed to meet her friends in the evening. Not a single day had passed without her being with friends cycling or skating together.
- Physical activities not only kept them fit; it also helped them channelize their bursting energies in the right direction. This kept them relaxed and jovial.
They started becoming anxious and restless
But now, as outdoor activities have come to a halt, life has become restricted for them.
- Sitting home idle and wandering around made them bored and irritable. This sometimes caused sibling fights too, causing an unpleasant impact on their mental state of mind.
- They started behaving erratic and restless. Being a parent, this was a matter of utmost concern to me as my kid’s mental well-being was equally important as their physical well-being.
- I believe, many parents like me must also be going through such problems these days and must be finding it challenging to overcome them.
Contemplating a lot on this issue, I realized that though the kids cannot step out currently, there are many ways through which I can still keep the kids happy and absorbed, even being indoors.
How to mitigate the psychological effects of the pandemic on kids
For parents, their children mean the world to them; they want them to be happy at any cost and so do I. But, having said that, was it that easy? Unfortunately not. Had it been so easy, I had not been sharing my experience with you.
Life had gone haywire for me too. Everything suddenly seemed to be so disorganized, as I had to keep rushing between my professional and personal commitments. A situation where I working from home, as well as children being full time around, had become very demanding on me. It had been an extremely exhausting situation and was kind of draining me both physically and emotionally.
At the same time, I could very well understand my children’s plight. Going through the same routine every day, was very distressing to them. Striking the right balance was the utmost challenging task for me then but the need of the hour was to mitigate the psychological effects of the pandemic on my kids.
For me, my kids’ irregular behavior and restlessness were bothering me more than anything else. It was very important to address this situation at the earliest and break their monotony by keeping them involved in various activities that they find interesting to do together.
I brought some changes in my ways of managing things to give that an effect. I found that my efforts helped keep my kids engaged cheerfully, yet staying home. Check it out if it might be helpful to you and your children as well.
1. Play board games together
- It’s not fun, always playing games on your mobile phone or iPad. Sometimes playing board games with your family is more exciting. We often gather around in leisure time especially in the afternoon after having our lunch to have such fun
- . Scrabble is one of our favorites as it’s fun playing with words. It increases my kids’ vocabulary too. There are lots more like Carrom board, Chess, Chinese checkers, Monopoly, Snakes & Ladders, Jigsaw Puzzles, and Uno which we are enthralled playing together.
Help your children engage in these games as it is a good start to kill boredom.
2. Watch entertainment programs together
- What fun, to watch a comedy show, a thrilling adventurous movie, or a captivating web series with your children. “Stranger Things” and “Just Add Magic” is one of their treasured programs. Various informative documentary shows on wildlife, sea life, human anatomy, space research, and geographic features of the world, allure them a lot. I join them to give them a company. Besides, it helps me update my knowledge too.
I’m sure being a parent, you also must be familiar with your kids’ favorites. Join them and double their fun.
3. Involve them in household chores
- Have you ever asked your kids to help you with household work? I asked them to; and they loved offering me a helping hand. Asking for their help made them feel responsible. They felt like grown-ups. We vacuum clean floors and tidy up our rooms together; It feels like teamwork. My 14-year-old even tried out new recipes and served us with some mouth-watering delicacies too. What a pleasure to see your kids growing up responsible. Isn’t it?
You can too ask your children to help you with your daily household-related work. I’m sure they will love to contribute.
4. Motivate them to pursue their hobby
- There can be nothing better than, your children doing what they love to do. My daughter loves drawing and painting and it gives me immense pleasure to see her doing what interests her as much as when I see my son playing guitar in his free time.
- I too find it intriguing to be with my daughter, doing Zentangle Art or Doodling together. Believe me, it’s fun.
Inspire your children to pursue their hobbies. It is an excellent way of learning something, which your kids are interested in. Besides, it will keep the boredom at bay too.
5. Involve your kids in conversation
- Sometimes just chit-chatting with your kids do wonders in elevating their moods, apart from creating a close bonding between you and your children.
- Talking about your memories of outings or journey to some exciting place will make them feel excited.
- This also helps me in providing a lively environment for them at home and thus reduces the psychological effects of the pandemic on my kids.
Engage them into the conversation, about the exciting places they would like to visit in the future, what all they would like to plan for the journey, and see the sparkle in their eyes.
6. Encourage them to read books
- Books have always been our best friends since childhood. Yes, I’m talking about storybooks. I feel that reading can be so addictive that it can keep you engrossed for hours in it. It is one of my cherished past time and I try to inspire my kids to do so as well. Check out these fabulous books for teenagers.
Encourage your kids to read books of their interests. This will help them in building their imagination and simultaneously, it will significantly help in keeping them away from getting addicted to social media and gaming devices.
7. Help them make a family video
- Isn’t it fun to ask your children to shoot a family video and capture memorable moments? We often do it to watch it later, as it’s a great source of laughter and enjoyment.
Get them to produce one for your family and see how it adds to their happiness. It’s simply one of the ways of creating something interesting out of your new way of living.
8. Engage them through online studies
- Although online classes for my children had never been a new thing for them, during the COVID -19 Pandemic, the education system has taken a paradigm shift. In coordination with the school and with the parents’ cooperation, full-time classroom learning has been replaced by online classes for my children right from our home. See how you can make online learning easy for your children.
- In a way, it is convincing, because even if the schools are not yet functioning, learning continues to happen. It not only helps in keeping my kids occupied but online classes also help them to be abreast of the curriculum.
I guess this must be the case with your children too. If not, then, encourage them to join online tutorials relevant to their grade and subjects for an hour or two. This will also help them keep updated with their course curriculum and manage their time productively.
9. Above all be a friend to your kids
- Leaving everything aside, during these challenging times, I try to be my children’s best friend so that they are comfortable enough to share everything which they feel like sharing with me.
- I’ll always suggest you be a friend to your children, listen to them, get involved in their talks, as they have only you to share. Keep the communication open as it will help them to express if any thought is bothering and causing distress to them.
I shared with you, everything possible I did to keep my kids happy and contended, staying at home. I believe it helped you gain some acumen on how to help your kids to deal with this unusual way of living.
Give your children a positive outlook on life. Assure your kids that it’s only a temporary phase and life will be back to normal soon.
Krishna is a Management graduate in Human Resource. She is an avid reader, knowledge seeker, and an adoring mother of two lovely kids.