Parenting- it is indeed a difficult task in itself and the onset of Covid 19 has made it all the more challenging. The impact of Covid-19 was seen on every population group but one group which was the most gravely affected was the children.
Allegedly children were not much affected by the virus itself but the lockdown adversely affected the kids’ lifestyle and routine. According to UNICEF, lockdown didn’t only affect their education (with schools being closed) but it also scaled down their social growth, online safety, and overall development which was the biggest parenting concern during that time.
What were the challenges that the children faced? Let’s find out.
How the well-being of kids was affected during Lockdown?
Kids struggled to deal with the changes as the brain of a child is very tender to understand and absorb the new normal. The implications of the pandemic were seen on the mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of children.
Feelings like stress, anxiety, grief, and worry became very common in the lives of some of them. In today’s digital world, children were exposed to all types of content on social media which became a stressful parenting concern. Not being able to go out, fake and inappropriate content affected their minds and thoughts adversely.
This is why UNICEF prepared interventions to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and introduced some parenting guidelines for parents to get their children’s life back on track.
Let’s find out more about these parenting guidelines.
UNICEF’S Parenting Guidelines For Children
According to UNICEF, the role of parents should be to promote an environment for their children in which they are safe and healthy and grow their full potential. There should be a healthy interaction between you and your children where they can express themselves and all of their queries are answered honestly.
- Understand the emotional needs of kids
- Talk to your children about the new normal.
- Explain to them about the rumors and how to ignore them.
- Encourage learning through play.
- Be available
- Prepare a schedule
- Keep your child safe online
- Keep a positive atmosphere at home
- Dealing with disobedience
Understand the emotional needs
Your children are dependent on you, you are responsible for catering to their emotions. Listen to them and try to understand their issues. It is very necessary to help your child deal with stress and painful events. Talk to them often as they need more care and attention in these difficult times
Talk to your children about the new normal
Parents should be willing to tell their children all that is happening around the world. Encourage good habits and precautions they should take. They need your help to understand what’s happening around them. Give answers to their questions according to their understanding.
Explain to them about the rumors and how to ignore them
Teach your child how to distinguish between fake and genuine news. Ask them general questions about Covid-19 and myths and rumors that are circulating, analyze their response. Parents should be mindful about the information reaching their child. Parental control apps are very supportive regarding that. It allows the parent to block the bad and allow the good.
Encourage learning through play
There are many games parents can play with their children that will also help in their learning. UNICEF suggested language, numbers, objects, drama, and music games for giving children opportunities to express themselves in a secure and fun way. Also, it will keep children away from blue screens at least for entertainment purposes.
The most important thing about good parenting is being available for your children whenever they need you. Spend one on one time with your child and give your attention to them as much as you can. Set aside a particular time for each of your children even if it is just 20 minutes, engage in recreational activities with them according to their age.
Prepare a schedule
Covid-19 hindered our daily routines, making a consistent but flexible timetable will be very beneficial to ease some things.
- Take your child’s help too in making their daily routine, in that way they will be more encouraged to follow the same.
- Make time for any physical activity like yoga, aerobics, anything your child loves; include some out-of-the-box learning too.
Reward them at the end of the day, if they follow it correctly, it will boost their motivation.
Keep your child safe online
With the internet being the only medium for education as well as entertainment during this time, parents are left with no choice but to offer smart devices to their kids. But the digital world also presents many risks and dangers such as cyberbullying, exposure to harmful content, online predators targeting kids for sexual favors, teens sharing their personal information and photos online, and many other harmful effects.
UNICEF suggested parents should use SafeSearch on their kid’s device and cover their web cameras when not in use. It further suggested applying privacy settings on online apps and games and using parental control apps.
One of the most reliable parental control apps, Bit Guardian Parental Control is very effective for keeping your child safe online. Its kiosk mode gives full control of the kid’s device to parents so that they can restrict their child before any potential danger.
Keep a positive atmosphere at home
Having a peaceful and compassionate environment at home will make our children feel loved and secure.
- Practice empathetic behavior and use positive language as much as you can.
- Avoid arguments as much you can in front of your child
Patiently deal with disobedient behavior
It is normal for children to misbehave due to all the stress and anxiety they are feeling while stuck at home. Do not yell at them. Calmly offer them a chance to follow your instruction, and set a consequence if they don’t do so.
Childhood is the base of an adult’s overall growth. When all were clueless about the next step, UNICEF introduced these parenting guidelines around the world with a step-by-step manual. Their objective was to mitigate the effects of Covid-19 on children. They guided parents to take the school shutdown as an opportunity to strengthen their bond with their kids and help in their overall development.