The outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic with a long-term stay at home could put children under some psychological stress. Let’s refer to some measures recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) to help your children integrate and adapt to the current situation.
1. Give your children attention and listening
Children may respond to stress in different ways such as being more clingy, anxious, withdrawing, angry or agitated, bedwetting etc. Respond to your child’s reactions in a supportive way, listen to their concerns and give them extra love and attention.
Children need adults’ love and attention during difficult times. Give them extra time and attention. Remember to listen to your children, speak kindly and treasure them. If possible, make opportunities for the child to play and relax.
2. Always keep children close to relatives
Try and keep children close to their parents and family and avoid separating children and their caregivers to the
extent possible. If separation occurs (e.g. hospitalization) ensure regular contact (e.g. via phone) and re-assurance.
3. Maintain daily routines
Keep to regular routines and schedules as much as possible, or help create new ones in a new environment, including school/learning as well as time for safely playing and relaxing.
4. Explain to the child the realities happening
Provide facts about what has happened, explain what is going on now and give them clear information about how to reduce their risk of being infected by the disease in words that they can understand depending on their age.
This also includes providing information about what could happen in a re-assuring way (e.g. a family member and/or the child may start not feeling well and may have to go to the hospital for some time so doctors can help them feel better).