COVID-19: Helping Your Child Go Back To ‘Normal’
Getting back to the ‘new normal’ after the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic ...
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Children are experiencing a lot of uncertainty and change and may be upset or disappointed by social distancing measures. Things like cancelled birthday parties, play dates, sleepovers, and even postponed visits to grandparents may be causing distress.
Children may feel sad, angry, scared, confused or worried about what is going to happen next. It is important we allow children to feel and express normal, healthy emotions, particularly those around grief and loss.
There is a lot of information circulating about COVID-19. Consider checking in about what your child already knows and using this as a starting point to discuss COVID-19. It is important to encourage open dialogue when speaking with your child and allow them to feel comfortable asking questions.
If your child has questions you can’t answer, use the opportunity to explore the answers together. Use websites of trusted organisations like the Australian Department of Health or the World Health Organization.
There is a lot of information out there about COVID-19 coming from a multitude of platforms, which can be really overwhelming. Take cues from your children and role model “switching off” devices and platforms and take time out. Some great ways to "switch off" include:
Family movie night
Going for a walk or kicking a ball
Before COVID-19, routines often centred around school and work. Routines have changed and may continue to change as the situation progresses, particularly for those who are quarantined or in lockdown.
Routine will look different for every family and requires an element of flexibility. A routine for the day could incorporate things like schoolwork, play time (both inside and outside), time on technology, time to chat online with friends, chores and family time.
Developing a routine could be a fun activity to do with your kids and give them a sense of ownership and control at a time they may not feel they have any. Make sure you review your routine in a few weeks’ time and check in with your children about how they think the routine is going.
It is also important to give yourself and your children some time for comfort. If you need to, stay with the activity that is bringing the most joy for the family or remove the schedule completely for the day. Do what works best for you and your family.
"Just like the earth needs the sun, a child needs their parent or caregiver more than anything right now. Be their sun, connect with them, provide guidance and help keep them on course."
- Jolanda, Parentline Community Engagement Officer
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