In view of the recent epidemic, parents can make some adjustments in their parenting during these difficult times and take advantage of the situation in a more positive way. Life has ups and downs; there are always positive things, which comes from a difficult situation that we need to take advantage of it. As everyone knows with a busy life in Beijing and other parts of China many parents especially dads do not have enough time to spend time with their children. Children mainly need their parent’s attention; time, love and nothing can substitute that. As many parents need to stay home more to avoid the epidemic and as I heard schools might stop temporarily it is the best time to take advantage and spend quality time at home doing different activities with your children. This will mean a lot to them and will make your kids even happier.
Children don’t have psychological protection, which adults have, and they cannot express themselves as adults do. Besides, they get easily misunderstood and emotionally hurt much deeper. Therefore, children need more help and understanding from their parents during this time to let them go through this crisis smoothly. This will reduce their chance of developing anxiety, depression, PTSD and other emotional problems in the future.
There are many things parents can do with their children at home to help children feel happy as they are stuck at home for a time being.
1- Parents can have weekly meetings with their children, each discussing their life affair, stress, happy things, how everyday they accomplished something even very small as doing house chores. This will teach children a sense of responsibility, help them become more emotionally close to their parents and family. This activity also allows children to express their feeling and release their fears.
2- Parents are the most important teachers of their children. Teach your kids correct ways of washing hands, hygiene, using a mask when needed, the reason for using it, how nutrition helps their health, simple science and more.
3- Family can have a reading session, each chooses their favorite book at home read and discusses what they learned at the end of the session. Parents can also help children with their schoolwork, as they will miss some lessons during schools being closed indefinitely.
4- On a good sunny day, if all possible take your child to a park away from the crowd due to this epidemic and teach them about trees, birds, flowers, nature and have QA with your children about these topics. This activity will raise their curiosity and they can learn first hand about the nature and environment they are living in. Of course, make sure take all the precautions when leaving home.
5- You can simply speak of reasons for school closing and basic rules of hygiene and staying healthy.
6- Children have difficulty to express themselves verbally. Have a family group art & drawing session in your schedule where everyone draws their favorite things and in the end everyone talk about their drawings and feelings. This gives the child and each family member a chance to share their feelings and release stress.
7- Make family group exercises a daily habit. This will make children release some pressure and all family become physically stronger and happier. Exercise can help produce happy hormones in a person’s brain.
If your children despite all you can do show signs of anxiety, depression,or PTSD in the future which could be associated with trauma or being in a stressful situation, get them psychological help to overcome their emotional difficulties.
Good luck, Dr. Mike Mehrvarz
Dr. Mehrvarz is a bilingual Chinese licensed Child and Adult psychologist. He has been practicing in Beijing for over 20 years at IMC. He is familiar with Chinese culture and speaks fluent Mandarin. He has extensive experience in assessment and treatment of children with learning disorders, Dyslexia, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, Autism spectrum disorders, Asperger, ADD, ADHD, developmental disorders, Tourette syndrome, Substance abuse, Down syndrome, OCD, PTSD, and psychological issues with expat, overseas and Chinese children.
Dr. Mehrvarz is also specialized in treating adults with depression, anxiety, panic attack, PTSD, OCD, Couple or family conflicts, pre & postnatal depression and other emotional problems.
Dr. Mehrvarz is a member of the International Council of Psychologist; Anxiety Disorders Association of America; American Society for Personality Assessment; Beijing Autistic Children Rehabilitation Association; the Chinese Sexology Association and the Chinese Association for Psychological Intervention.
(All image credits: Pixabay)
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