Limiting the movement of citizens as much as possible is one of the measures that authorities around the world have recommended to stop the spread of COVID-19 worldwide. We all must stay home, however, lockdown and quarantine can have a negative psychological impact on children (and also parents), so this time we take care to find a way to reduce its consequences.
When the quarantine begins, people 'disappear' from public life from one moment to the next. The psychological and motivational aspects of individuals are essential to ensure the success of this isolation measure. But As the days go by they may start to reel.
As has been proven, among adults who are in confinement, there is a greater risk of suffering from some psychological problems such as depression, detachment from others, post-traumatic stress, anger or increased irritability, fatigue, insomnia or anguish. The effect of these complications can also be detected months, and even years later.
Children are a lot more resistant than adults to the psychological effects of isolation, but they are not completely immune. The change in their routines, the continuous 'bombardment' of news, or not being able to satisfy their basic needs such as running, jumping, playing with their friends, etc. It can cause stress and have a great emotional impact on them.
The different studies that are already being carried out from the weeks in confinement, have found that after staying so long at home the little ones have lost their habits and tend to be much more irritable, which makes tantrums and moments of anger. There are several experts who also talk about the sadness of children these days, which can end up resulting in post-traumatic stress that would affect the little ones in the medium term.
Depending on the type of personality and character of the child, different psychological effects can occur:
- Children who are more sensitive They tend to feel very overwhelmed by stimuli, by sudden changes, and above all, by the emotional distress of others. These types of children may cry more often and experience sleep disturbances such as night terrors or nightmares.
- Children with a difficult temperament They often have trouble accepting instructions and rules and are more likely to respond in bad ways. These types of children will experience greater rebellion against quarantine, in addition to mood swings and boredom.
Within the coronavirus quarantine, adults have to be active to combat all negative psychological effects that produces isolation both in ourselves, as in children and the rest of the family.
Regarding the little ones, it will be necessary that:
1. Establish routines
The main task of parents will be to create routines that provide security and stability to the little ones in this exceptional situation. Children must understand that it is not a vacation. Therefore, setting a schedule will be very important to help you know what is going to happen. This 'program' will include the different times of the day such as meals, study times, tasks such as cleaning the room, making the bed, etc.
2. Be more tolerant
These days children and adults can be more nervous. It is important to be a little more tolerant with the behavior of the little ones. For this, it will be important to know how to handle the necessary tools to manage situations such as fights between siblings, tantrums, etc. Adults have to be patient, firm and use common sense.
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3. The good use of technology
Consoles, computers, television, mobile phones and tablets can be great allies, especially at those times of the day when children's energy is more depressed to carry out other types of activities where much more concentration is required. But always controlling its use!
4. Maintain contact with other people
We are 'social animals' and as such we need to relate to other people. It will be important to telephone or make video calls to friends or family to keep in touch and combat the fears and uncertainty of this new and stressful situation for the little ones.
It is necessary to combat irritability. You have to calm down and put aside the discomfort. For this, parents can take turns caring for their children and take some time for themselves (or telework without distractions).
6. Talk to the children about it
To do this, parents must adapt the message they want to give to the age and maturity of their children. Everything that is said must be true and use sincerity.
7. Family activities
You cannot go out but you can continue doing family activities such as watching movies together, playing board games, etc. This will help the little ones to cope better with isolation.
8. Understand the reality that we are living
In the manual provided by the Official College of Psychologists of Madrid (Spain), entitled 'Guidelines for the psychological management of quarantine due to coronavirus', it is also recommended that we become aware of the reality that we are living. Unfortunately, the situation is what it is, we must stay at home so that the virus stops spreading, therefore we must accept the situation and reinforce ourselves knowing that, although it is a sacrifice, we are doing the right thing; we are acting responsibly.
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