By Dr Puja Kapoor
Due to the lockdown, children are deprived of their regular activities related to academics and social life. Because of their restricted movement and social inhibitions, the new normal of online classes and co-curricular activities are taking a toll on both physical and mental health of children.
Due to long hours of online academic classes, with no exercise, children are more prone to obesity, hypertension. Due to lack of direct social interaction with the peer age group and friends, mental wellbeing is being disrupted.
There are certain tips which will help the children to cope with lockdown induced losses:
Everyday there has to be a family time in which every family member is asked to participate without the mobile, laptop or any other gadget. It should be media-free time, specially designated for playing board games, sharing of the day’s event, talking about the past good memories of a vacation, party, etc.
As there is no active playground activity or exercise, due to extensive screentime, physical wellbeing of children are at stake. A fixed time has to be allotted every day for home exercise. It could be as simple as skipping, playing hopscotch, dancing on a favourite song, etc. Try to spare some time for meditation, yoga or breathing exercises. It helps in building physical as well as mental immunity.
Talking to friends and relatives
As there is no face to face physical social connectivity due to lockdown, virtual connectivity through video chatting should be maintained. Talking to friends and family alleviates the stress and anxiety and makes the child elated.
Keep to a daily routine
Maintaining a routine brings purpose and meaning to life and thus maintains mental wellbeing. Try to maintain a similar schedule of meals, general hygiene, entertainment, etc, as it was in the pre-lockdown period. This discipline will bring a feeling of near normalcy and decrease anxiety.
This too shall pass
Try to maintain a positive home environment by discussing positive aspects of the problem. Inform them that due to the work from home condition, due to the lockdown, the family is able to stay together for longer hours, which was missed previously due to work commitments. Also, tell them that this is not a permanent situation.This is a temporary phase of life that will pass like any other time.
Be mindful of each other
During this unprecedented time when the family is confined to the premises of the house, try to share the space with each other in a thoughtful way. Everyone, inclusive of children, is going through frustration, due to the disruption of their normal lifestyle. Try to understand the emotions of children and help to cope with this “new normal” by lending an ear to their grievances, however petty they may seem.
(The writer is a paediatric neurologist and Co-Founder of Continua Kids.)
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