COVID-19 has left the entire world in a state of dismal shock, owing to the dramatic loss of human life and more than that, the impact it has had on the mental state, i immeasurable in quantitative terms.
Different age groups have their own unique challenges to face in these unprecedented times but the most difficult is the one, who has to directly learn to understand, absorb and adapt to deal with the changes that COVID brought on the world- the one, children will have to face.
With the current constraints of lockdown and required restrictions, the socialization and the physical contact for the kids have been brought down to the bare minimum, which plays an important role in their psycho well-being and thus, restricting this major function has its inevitable consequences.
Apart from this, COVID-19 has also brought new stressors to the direct caregivers to the children- parents, guardians alike, passing their stress over to the all-receptive children, impacting their well-being as a result. Most schools and other places for public gatherings are closed so children are mostly going to look up to the adults in their own homes. So the most important role lies in the hands of the adults to help the children make peace with this new way of living.
First and foremost, acknowledging the presence of a problem without creating a ruckus, is extremely important in these times for the children to get all the right information than to explore the presence of COVID all on their own with the wrong information all around in bits and pieces.
Dr Rajat Mitra, a clinical psychologist and a Harvard alumnus, emphasized the need for communication. Parents/guardians should talk to the children more and encourage them to talk about their fears, anxieties and nervousness. These family conversations would help them find a safe space and thus, be confident and positive in their future outlook.
The next step is to make the situation as normal as it can be by letting them follow their previous routine, pursuing their interests and hobbies. Along with this, giving them a household task or some small chores could go a long way in restoring normalcy. Conversation and acknowledging the viral outbreak is important but an instant and heavy surge in information would do more harm than good, so, parents should refrain from doing that.
A gigantic shift from the offline mode of the whole school, college and office lives to the online mode has resulted in a whole new challenge for parents to balance their own and their kids’ online and offline lives. For this, all activities that can be managed offline should be strictly kept offline such as recreational activities like dancing, instrument playing, singing etc., even a family workout plan could help incredibly in making up for the loss of offline fun.
The next prime space for children is their school. Teachers have decreased mobility in their working and interacting with the students, so, the teachers and parents should work together in order to make learning more fun and interesting and for students to be happy while studying. School counsellors should also account for regular sessions with the children so as to mitigate their stress and anxiety. They should also ensure that the situation of students, with a history of mental health issues, does not get aggravated and they should be comfortable enough to seek help if required.
According to numerous studies, houseplants have been proven as a wonderful way of lowering levels of anxiety and thus, being a calming presence. Along with it, caring for plants also reduces stress levels and boosts mood, especially in these difficult times.
Project Srijan was started in 2017 with the aim of uplifting the two communities- potters and gardening community, by selling customizable combinations of pots and plants. Project Srijan has incorporated a wide range of indoor plants such as succulents, snow-white plants etc. These plants have added benefit of purifying air along with being a calming presence, especially in these hard times.
Lastly, if things get too hard, asking for professional help is the ultimate solution to go with. Remember, asking for help is not a thing to be ashamed of, but one depicting our courage to seek a solution.