COVID-19, children and coping with the crisis

Counseling Psychologist Divya Nerurkar Saudagar shares her thoughts.

Recently, children in the age group of 5 to 8 years drew posters of the Earth, Coronavirus, ladders and human figures. Each drawing had a common message, ‘Stay Safe. Stay Home’. These children are concerned about and deeply affected by COVID-19. They face unsaid anxiety, worry and uncertainty. We are constantly exposed to preventive measures, key words being, ‘Stay Safe’.

But what does it really mean to ‘Stay Safe’?

It means taking care of self — Physically and Psychologically. Along with physical safety and hygiene, taking good care of our mental state. For this, these steps are necessary:

  • Communication within the family
  • Sharing our thoughts and fears with our loved ones
  • Not giving children false hopes
  • Not believing baseless rumors and fake news
  • Staying calm 
  • Reassuring the children of their safety

Kids have too much free time and cannot play with their friends. So, families have to deal with their unending questions. Severe supervision by parents for maintaining hygiene and cleanliness is causing frustrations and verbal fights.

For children to understand the seriousness of COVID -19 it is key to explain it to them in their language — in a child friendly manner. If a child is casual about maintaining hygiene, elders in the family can be a role model for them. 

To engage the children, play brain booster games including puzzles, crafts and activities. For active children, assign minor household chores to utilize their physical strength.
Set a daily timetable involving fun, duties and leisure to maintain discipline.

After this episode is over, we will need to take extra care of the children.

  • Make sure they’re readjusting to studies and life with the same enthusiasm
  • If they struggle, give them their space and help them achieve normalcy. 
  • There is a possibility of post-stress or trauma in some case. This will require individualized attention.
With these, we will truly ‘Stay Safe’ and face this crisis effectively.

(Design by Freepik)


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