In my last article, I talked about how hard this third lockdown (in Ireland) is for the majority of people and how can we mind ourselves. But we cannot miss the fact that not only us (adults) are affected by Covid19. Our children are as affected as we are. And that what makes this situation even more difficult because we not only need to look after ourselves but also our children.
We need to be mindful of our children during this lockdown because they can find this whole change incredibly challenging and stressful as well. Covid19, the lockdown has changed their reality as well.
Let’s look at what they have to struggle with?
- They cannot meet with their friends so that they miss the social interaction.
- They cannot go to school, to their normal environment where again they have the opportunity to interact with other children and where they learn.
- They cannot go visit their external family, which causes missing them.
- They are missing out on their daily routine.
- They can be anxious, as they might not have a full understanding of what is happening.
We need to remember that children have the same emotions as we do. They can be confused, annoyed, stressed, tired, worried, afraid, overwhelmed, angry… they can feel all of this and much more at once.
Furthermore, the age of the child can be significant regarding the effect of Covid19 on them. For example, younger kids won’t have a full understanding of what is happening and why. But they know how that changes their life.
Older kids and adolescents definitely feel the effect of not being able to meet their friends. The social aspect of that age is one of the most significant aspects of their lives. They need peer interaction for healthy development. When that is taken away from them, they can have a difficult time coping with those restrictions.
Children on the spectrum can find lockdown and restrictions extremely difficult, as for them and their development daily routine and the access to help is very significant. And what makes it even more difficult is that they don’t have an understanding of why they cannot have it back.
We as adults, as their caregivers, as their parents need to find understanding, compassion, and patience with them. We need to mind them as well as we try to mind ourselves.
However, we need to remember that our kids are also human beings, they feel, they think, they have needs and desires just as we do. So, make time with them, make an effort with them. They need it too!
What can you do to help During Covid19?
First, and I think the most important thing is to talk to your children. Find out what they feel, what is their worry about, what they are struggling with? Ask them what they need? Try to soothe them. Try to understand them. Don’t try to be an expert on THEIR emotions, trust that they can tell you how they feel. Listen…
When you show them understanding and that you are willing to listen, it is enough! You don’t need to try and fix it for them, you cannot really do that. But here are some of my suggestions that YOU CAN DO:
- When you talk to your children, put your phone away. Make them exclusive for that time. They will sense it.
- Listen to them, they can speak.
- Spend time together. Do something together, maybe watch a Disney movie and play board games together.
- Go for a walk together.
- Get them involved in some of the housework, it will give them the sense of being part of something.
- You can cook, bake, do some craftwork, or puzzles (jigsaw) together.
- Listen to music, dance together.
- Hug your children! Tell them you love them. Tell them that they are important to you!
It is a challenging time, but there are things that we can do to help each other. Doing things together can help us become closer to each other. It can help us with our struggles and those interactions can make it a bit easier for everybody to deal with the lockdown.
With love and best wishes,