Worried about your kids’ mental health? Here’s what experts recommend
It has been over a hundred days since the nationwide lockdown was imposed, in lieu of the coronavirus scare. While restrictions have been eased, certain things are still a big no-no, one of these being reopening of educational institutions. Keeping in mind the well-being of children, most state governments announced that schools would remain closed for the foreseeable future. While the decision came as a sigh of relief for parents, the threat of dipping mental health of children looms large.
School has and will always remain the most memorable part of life for most of us. But for children these days, classrooms have turned into mobile phones, and teachers into virtual assistants. And this lack of exposure to the outside world has put parents in a fix.
“Society plays a major role in a child’s development,” asserts Maanwi Malik Sharma, a city-based psychologist, adding, “Children learn through mimicry and observation. What we show is what a child will repeat. When they are constantly surrounded by caregivers and do not interact with the society, they lack the connection to understand others, their ability to explore and apply problem-solving skills, leading to dependency and doubt. Additionally, they lack the ability to manipulate self and others.”
What’s more, increased exposure to gadgets amid the lockdown has led to addiction in children. “Since many children have not stepped out from their homes from long, behavioural changes are quite obvious. Kids can’t express their emotions in words, so they throw temper tantrums,” observes Dr Shanu Srivastava, a senior psychologist.
To minimise the impact of the pandemic, Dr Srivastava believes parents should pay keen attention to what their children have to say. “Listen to them, so that they can vent out their anger, anxiety or negativity. Also, schools should organise fun activity classes every day online, which includes various forms of dance, music, etc.”
Echoing similar sentiments, Dr Prerna Kohli, a clinical psychologist, feels parents need to ensure their children spend adequate time on three domains, that is, academic, social and physical (exercise).
“While children are at home, teachers need to modify the curriculum to a more practical, experience-based learning. Parents need to step up in providing social and physical outlets to children. For example, if parents and children together practised bhangra for 60 minutes daily, this would be a fun activity to address both social and physical exercise needs of school-going children,” she suggests, adding that the key is to create a schedule and adhere to it.
Author tweets @srinidhi_gk