By Shailika Sinha
Year 2020 has indeed been difficult, for each one of us in some way or the other. Many were put out of work, schools were shut down, children were forced to stay indoors, parks, malls and gathering places were all closed. Suddenly the world around us had transformed. Imagine how badly this scenario must have upended the lives of our children! Social isolation, altered routine, limited physical activities and disrupted eating habits led to problems in children – physical, emotional and psychosocial.
They missed being in their classrooms, amidst friends and teachers, learning, playing, reading and getting involved in extra-curricular activities. This restricted their developmental progress to quite an extent. Even little things (for grown-ups), like missing out birthday parties or a playdate bothered the kids. They were unable to completely understand what was happening and why. And, all this Covid-related stress did take a toll on their mental health.
Parents said that they witnessed a sudden change of behaviour in their kids. Some were extra clingy, some irritable, some anxious and some nervous.
Adolescents have had their own share of problems. From studies to social interactions, they have been on the receiving end due to the pandemic. Research and insights have also shown increase in anxiety issues in teens. As parents, even if we don’t talk to them about it, kids are intelligent enough to understand from our behaviour. Parents across the globe seem to have had the same experience with kids. They are of the view that kids are giving them a hard time during the pandemic.
The fact is that they themselves are completely burnt out, juggling between working from home and working for home. They are unable to make time for parenting.
What they need to understand is that this is the time when children need their support. The little ones are going through a difficult phase. If there’s something that bothers a child the most, it is uncertainty and Covid has certainly brought this fear to the fore. The responsibility of parents, therefore, is immense.
Kids want to share. They want parents to talk to them, they want to be heard, to be understood, from their perspective. Some bit of quality time and concentrated listening can do wonders to a child’s behaviour and outlook.
Family is the most important asset. The magnitude of any such problem can be minimised or controlled with little help and some moments of togetherness with their families.
Spending time helps parents understand the seriousness of the problem and consult a doctor if need arises. Their small efforts can do a lot to lessen the burden on their children. With a conducive environment at home, encouraging kids to stick to routine and helping them with happy distractions, parents can help them sail through. It has almost been 9 months since the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted our normal lives, but it’s now time to close this year and move forward with more joy, hope, empathy and responsibility.