Child psychology is one of the many branches of psychology. This specific branch focuses on the mind and behaviour of children from prenatal development through adolescence. Child psychology deals not only with how children grow physically, but their mental, emotional and social development as well.
The effects of COVID-19 pandemic are felt distinctively among various population groups. Among these, one group will face extra challenges to understand, absorb and deal with the changes that COVID-19 are bringing to our world : the children.
In the current context of lockdown and restriction of movements, kids have constrained access to socialization, play, and even physical contact, basic for their psychosocial wellbeing and development. School closures are preventing children from access to learning and limiting their interactions with peers. Children may feel confused and at loss with the current situation, leading to frustration and anxiety, which will only increase with the overexposure to mass and social media, especially among adolescents. Some adults may struggle to find ways to explain and communicate with children about the current situation in a way that is understandable by this age group, which will add frustration and disquietude.
Families the nation over are adjusting to the advancing changes in day by day life brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most schools, public get-together, and organizations are shut, and caregivers and different parental figures are confronted with assisting their families with changing the new ordinary. This incorporates attempting to keep kids involved, having a sense of security, and endeavouring to stay aware of homework as best as could really be expected. None of this is simple, yet it assists with remaining fixed on what is conceivable to support a feeling of control and to promise youngsters that they are OK, and that the circumstance will improve.
Coronavirus is also bringing new stressors on parent and caregivers. This can hamper their capacity to provide care and remain engaged with their children. Being extremely keen observers of people and environments, children will notice, absorb and react to the stress in their caregivers and community members, which unavoidably will affect their wellbeing.
Levels of stress will be exponentially higher among vulnerable families. For children who are deprived of parental care in Child Care Institutions or in alternative care, children living in the streets , or children migrants and on the move, for instance, the situation will be particularly challenging. Prior experience in public health emergencies have shown that the situation will be particularly challenging. With the current movement limitations, girls and boys victims of violence will face obstacles to seek out help and have access to support systems.
How to help children cope with the changes resulting from COVID-19:
• STAY CALM, LISTEN, AND OFFER REASSURANCE
• MONITOR TELEVISION VIEWING AND SOCIAL MEDIA
• TAKE TIME TO TALK
• BE HONEST AND ACCURATE
• KEEP EXPLANATIONS AGE-APPROPRIATE
• STAY CONNECTED TO SCHOOL
• KNOW THE SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19
• MODEL BASIC HYGIENE AND HEALTHY LIFESTYLE PRACTICES
• BE AWARE OF YOUR CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH
Tips for parenting
Can’t go to work? Schools closed? Worried about money? It is normal to feel stressed and overwhelmed.
Set aside time to spend with each child
It can be for just 20 minutes, or longer – it’s up to us. It can be at the same time each day so children or teenagers can look forward to it.
Ask your child what they would like to do
Choosing builds their self-confidence. If they want to do something that isn’t OK with physical distancing, then this is a chance to talk with them about this.
School shutdown is also a chance to make better relationships with our children and teenagers. One-on-One time is free and fun. It makes children feel loved and secure, and shows them that they are important.
Keeping it positive
It‘s hard to feel positive when our kids or teenagers are driving us crazy. We often end up saying “Stop doing that!”. But children are much more likely to do what we ask if we give them positive instructions and lots of praise for what they do right.
Praise your child when they are behaving well
Try praising your child or teenager for something they have done well. They may not show it, but you’ll see them doing that good thing again. It will also reassure them that you notice and care.
COVID-19 has taken away our daily work, home and school routines. This is hard for children, teenagers and for you. Making new routines can help.
All children misbehave. It is normal when children are tired, hungry, afraid, or learning independence. And they can drive us crazy when stuck at home.
Keep calm and manage stress
This is a stressful time. Take care of yourself, so you can support your children.
Talking about COVID-19
Be willing to talk. They will already have heard something. Silence and secrets do not protect our children. Honesty and openness do. Think about how much they will understand. You know them best.
You are a model for your child’s behaviour
If you practice keeping safe distances and hygiene yourself, and treat others with compassion, especially those who are sick or vulnerable – your children and teenagers will learn from you.
At the end of each day, take a minute to think about the day. Tell your child about one positive or fun thing they did. Praise yourself for what you did well today. You are a star!
Take a pause
Feel like screaming? Give yourself a 10-second pause. Breathe in and out slowly five times. Then try to respond in a calmer way. Millions of parents say this helps - a lot!
Listen to your kids
Be open and listen to your children. Your children will look to you for support and reassurance. Listen to your children when they share how they are feeling. Accept how they feel and give them comfort.
Can your child actually do what you are asking them? It is very hard for a child to keep quiet inside for a whole day but maybe they can keep quiet for 15 minutes while you are on a call.
Create a flexible but consistent daily routine
Make a schedule for you and your children that has time for structured activities as well as free time. This can help children feel more secure and better behaved. Children or teenagers can help plan the routine for the day – like making a school timetable. Children will follow this better if they help to make it.
Include exercise in each day - this helps with stress and kids with lots of energy at home. UNICEF