With a myriad of changes happening in the world right now, most of us have learnt that nothing is really a ‘given.’ We are very lucky if we have not lost family members to COVID-19 but in saying that, as a 21st century society, some families are finding it tough to navigate the societal restrictions and changes during this dynamic pandemic. We aim to provide for our family’s needs but all the while, our primary goal as parents is to keep our own family as safe as possible.
Parents are concerned to hear from various health professionals, that the reality of a Coronavirus is the world doesn’t really know how to deal with it. Realtime research and evidence is scarce and often not peer reviewed but we push on hoping that our governments make the right strategic decisions. Now that many countries have managed to flatten their curves, and the situation seems to be somewhat manageable in fortunate countries such as Australia and New Zealand, a collective question is ‘How safe will our kids back be during this pandemic given that they are required to physically attend school for their education?’
So, what do we do to help our families cope with anxious feelings once they are required to attend classroom-based instruction?
- Regular and thorough handwashing, while minimising physical contact with others outside of their family is a practical way of feeling in control. Kids can be shown how and why they should practise sound hygiene habits. It will make a difference.
- Keep monitoring anxiety levels, ask your child’s teacher if they seem to be coping as they were at school pre-COVID. If there has been a big, negative change, work with the school to manage the situation. It may only be a case of reassuring kids that adults and carers around them are doing everything possible to keep them safe and that everything in their world will be fine.
- Avoid voicing your own adult questions about starting back at school, in front of your kids. Little ears do seem to pick up what we don’t think they’re hearing, albeit in another room.
- If your family has opted to home-school for the foreseeable future, ensure that your kids still feel connected to their friends. Missing friends is what many Australian kids speak about when they are asked about their home isolation experience. Connection to their life before COVID is key to remaining a sense of optimism and hope.
- Keep school routines as close as possible to their life pre-COVID. Even with staggered school starts for different children in your brood and with different playtimes, you can help your child by keeping the same morning and afternoon routines at home. Regular bedtime routines need to allow for adequate sleep to maintain healthy mental and physical health. Stressed kids don’t learn.
This is a sensitive and anxious time for everyone. If possible, try to keep things relaxed at home by prioritising important things. Quality family time and board games, allow kids to relax and have fun with their family. At quiet times, encourage kids to privately share their concerns, away from siblings so as to not affect others, should you see a change in their demeanour.
You may also like to read: