Stay novel, stay calm

  • In any situation that causes fear, anxiety and panic, the best thing we can do for our kids is to help them understand, manage the barrage of information and withstand the urge to panic.

    This is not an easy task when we are facing widespread chaos and the WHO’s declaration that Covid-19 is officially a pandemic. It has already hit the world’s largest economy badly, many parts of the country are heading towards lockdown. No matter how old our kids might be, our anxieties and fears rub off on them and can potentially create a difficult scenario, especially in the context of impending exams and exam stress.

    Before we talk to our kids about the virus spread (which is of course crucial), it is imperative that we introspect — we need to ask ourselves honestly about the state of mind we are in.

    Are we (as parents or employees or sons/daughters of aged parents), fearful, anxious or frustrated? Maybe we harbour worries about our own physical well-being and are unwilling to express/accept it. When we have a conversation with our children, we need to be fully present, emotionally neutral, well-informed and in a position to have an honest, fact-based conversation. Make sure external factors don’t intrude — switch off all gadgets and the TV. Initiate an open conversation by asking them what they have heard about the virus.

    What do they believe is true and what are they unable to comprehend? Do listen without interruptions and be honest about limitations to your knowledge. Once children, especially younger children, are able to express themselves, we can help them understand routine procedures that can be the foundation for cleanliness and healthy habits in the longer-term. Discuss how limits on travel/public gatherings are being balanced with career/work expectations. 

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