The new coronavirus pandemic has inflicted a global health concern that young minds will be aware of, but perhaps not fully understand. There is a growing concern for the impact the pandemic will be having on mental health, with increased levels of anxiety in both parents and children.
Here are some ways you can help protect your children in every way:
Good health and hygiene
Regular handwashing should be de rigueur in every household at the moment, as this is understood to be the best way to keep germs away. Self-care, including handwashing, is something we teach our pupils as soon as they join in Pre-Nursery, so hopefully many children already understand the importance of this. A great video to help them learn a fun but thorough technique is here.
This is also a key time to keep vitamin-rich fruit and vegetables part of every meal and offer additional supplements to boost your child’s immune system. Make it a fun experience by reading books about how food helps our bodies (Usborne “lift the flap” books are particularly engaging), getting them to help you cook nutritious family meals, or seeing if you can create a rainbow on the plate together by including many colourful fruit and vegetables.
Give them accessible facts
Children will be aware of something going on, especially if school closes as a precautionary measure. Be honest, with simple facts about the virus that allow them to understand what it is. No fuss, no emotion, no drama, just the basic concept of the virus and what we can all do to keep ourselves and our loved ones well-protected. A great video you can show them is here.
Practice mindfulness and relaxation together
If you’re feeling anxious about the uncertainties of the virus, which is completely understandable, then your child will be picking up on that. Try practicing some mindfulness or relaxation together. Children often focus well on Cosmic Kids Yoga videos, and the Cosmic Kids YouTube channel also offers mindful sessions too. Another good way to instil mindful thinking is lying with your child, each with a soft toy on your tummy, and watch the toy rise and fall as you count your breaths together. You could even simply listen to calm music or audiotapes together. The key thing is to tune into calm moments with your child(ren) where you cut out the noise and anxiety from the world beyond.
We hope everyone can find positive ways through the uncertainties of these times.
As you guide your child though the coronavirus pandemic, take care of your own mental health too Here is a good article from the BBC that we’ve shared with our staff.