It’s the first time in a very long time that the entire world is staying indoors, for an indefinite period. A precautionary measure to reduce the spread of COVID-19, self-isolation (within our own homes) and physical distancing is the new status quo.
This physical- and social distancing can take a toll on our mental health. Humans are social animals; our social behavior has shaped our evolution through millennia, and detaching ourselves from this ancient instinct is not easy.
This social deviation is especially difficult on the youngest members of our society. Changes, though subtle, may not be easily accepted by children or teenagers. As a family, here are a few steps to consider:
- Let them talk about their fears, and acknowledge those fears without judgement
- Explain the reason behind physical distancing, and the risks of not following the protocol
- Share a procedure to be followed – for example, disinfection process for when a family member returns home from grocery shopping.
- Reassure your children that youngsters usually contract a mild form of COVID-19
- Keep some time aside for any questions your children may have
Some more points to consider, especially with reference to adolescents:
- Create engaging activities that are productive, hence enabling the participants with a sens of accomplishment
- Encourage socializing with friends through digital media, such as Zoom, Instagram, SnapChat, Facebook, among others
- Remind the kids to not share personal items (such as make-up, straws, cutlery, etc) during the pandemic period
- Advise teenagers on the risks of smoking (cigarettes, vapes, or any other smoking paraphernalia) with regards to COVID-19