Preparing kids for a post covid world

By Dr. Nisma Haris

Are you also having tough time being parents of young children? Keeping your children confined to homes for their safety also worries you?

The world is currently undergoing a devastating pandemic and unfortunately, young children are one of its terrible victims. Their innocent minds are unable to comprehend the challenging situation it has put all of us in. With the current lockdown measures, social distancing, closure of schools, working remote, no outdoor activities have left children almost clueless what is going on with their lives.

It is an extremely challenging situation for parents to navigate. Many a times children are not even able to express their plight. But their changing behaviors have a lot to say for what they are going through. Lack of discipline and focus, rising lethargy, feeling trapped, compromised mental and social health are some of the issues parents are grossly witnessing.

Claire Mc Carthy, MD; an Assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard medical school; mentions “I’ve been hearing from families about young children who are having trouble sleeping, whose eating habits have changed, who are crying or throwing tantrums for no good reason, or are just generally crankier and more irritable than usual. Some are clingier, which can get tough for parents who are working from home”.

But we cannot leave our children to wander in the shadow of a lost generation. This pandemic has almost redesigned the world with uncertainty as the foremost outcome. Its high time we start preparing our kids for a post covid world so that they can learn to thrive better without being distracted and to prevent corroding their personalities.

Having general knowledge of the crisis and keeping following things in mind I believe we can definitely help our kids to cope in the current situation as well as getting them all set for a post covid world.

• The most basic thing we can start with is to open up and talk. Having a conversation on any issue is the universal formula to sort out anything in the first place. Explain to the kids calmly and clearly about the pandemic. Listen to their queries and try to answer their questions in a simplified way. Convince them it will surely end soon and they need to stay optimistic.

• Structure out their routines for the day as they are already missing out for a proper schedule which is so imperative to inculcate discipline. Assign some small roles for them in household chores so that they can be kept engaged as well as they also learn to assist as a family.

• Although screen time of children is already escalated during pandemic but it is okay to give them some extra time because they are already suffering and getting more stricter with them regarding screen timings will impact their well-being negatively. Be gentle and yes ask them to get up in between, take a break and stroll around instead of watching continuously.

• Educate them about the new normal that is wearing a face mask outside, sneezing and coughing etiquettes, practicing social distancing, properly washing and sanitizing hands after using any public facilities in case of emergencies.

• Schools will no longer be the same places for children as they used to be pre pandemic. Enlighten them ahead how schools might be when they reopen. They might have to take classes in the open outdoor spaces or classes might run in shifts with limited number of students at a time. Teach them to carry their own belongings and avoid sharing things with others.

• Ask them to make a habit of properly washing their hands and faces after entering home from outside and not to approach any family member directly especially babies and elderly if any in the home.

• Try building their personalities on thinking well for others, to offer help to others so often and explain to them everyone is undergoing hard times and they need to be empathic toward fellow people.

• Although pandemic will be over soon but its repercussions can be felt for longer and children has to face its impact in gross. So, they need to need to be prepared in advance for any kind of unprecedented times to follow which is the most essential. And at the same time keeping a cheerful approach towards life and whatever it throws at them.