With the confinement to the house related to the epidemic of Coronavirus, the parents must redouble their attention to take care of their children, deprived of contact and fresh air. Psychological advice to help us overcome this difficult moment.
Table of contents
- Confinement: the effects on children
- Parents’ positive attitude: a guarantee of serenity
- Strengthening ties: the opportunity of confinement
Because of the coronavirus epidemic, the current situation forces us to stay at home, off work, or telework. Confinement is a new experience for almost all of us, which leads us to create new relationships with our children, deprived of school and leisure activities. For them as well as for us, the situation is new. It is important for all of us that this confinement goes as smoothly as possible.
Confinement: the effects on children
Families and children are not all the same when it comes to confinement! Garden or not, apartment with or without balcony, small or large surface: it goes without saying that the situations are different.
Depending on their age, children will also approach the situation differently. While infants are the least affected by the situation, toddlers and older children can suffer from this suddenly reduced horizon. “Also, time does not pass in the same way for children. A period of four weeks can seem like an eternity,” says a clinical psychologist.
“Very early on, children become aware of the changes that are taking place in their daily lives. Confinement can cause them anxiety, anger, or even phobias or trauma if the parents do not manage it well,” explains the therapist and school teacher.
The first consequence of confinement is the lack of socialization with other children. This, if they attend a crèche or nursery school, is a massive change in their lives. No longer going to class, playing in the playground, no longer finding friends, all aspects of the socialization of the young child disappear from one day to the next. If possible, suggest that your child meet up with his or her best friends via FaceTime, for example, to keep some contact.
Parents’ positive attitude: a guarantee of serenity
“Family harmony depends on parental management of the confinement,” warns the clinical psychologist, an opinion the therapist shares. “In close and exclusive contact with their parents, children absorb their emotions and fears as grown-ups. Therefore, it is essential for the parental couple, or one or other of the parents, to work on their own stress and not to pass it on.
For her, it is also necessary not to hide the truth from the children. “You have to explain to them why they have to stay at home, very clearly, while reassuring them. From the age of 2 to 3, they are old enough to integrate the information,” she adds. Children’s uncertainty can lead to nightmares and reinforce emotional fragility. By putting concrete and straightforward words to the situation, adapted to their age, parents offer a framework of explanations that reassures the child.
Strengthening ties: the opportunity of confinement
“This period of withdrawal can be an opportunity for the whole family,” says the clinical psychologist. What opportunity? “To recreate or create a link with your children, to teach them things they don’t learn at school or the nursery. To feed each other” continues the psychologist.
For example, to combat inactivity, if you don’t have an outdoor space, create a psychomotor course in your living room with cushions and anything else you have available,” suggests the clinical psychologist. Creative activities, of course, will also be an excellent way to keep the children occupied. Plan to stock up on scissors, glue sticks, paint, and all the necessary materials in your next shopping trip!
You can also plan a group activity such as singing or a yoga session, without forgetting the school activities. “It is essential to vary the days and their content. But be careful; children also need to have a sense of direction. The clinical psychologist concludes that even if they are confined, it is important to have them follow a certain routine that will prepare them for a return to normal.
In any case, parents must remain attentive to the impact that confinement can have on their children. If your child is very anxious, no longer sleeps, or seems particularly distressed during this period of confinement, it is important to help them. “If your child is showing more serious problems exacerbated by the confinement, do not hesitate to ask for help from a psychology professional through teleconsultation,” concludes the therapist.
Containment, which involves separating and restricting people’s movement owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, and mitigation, often known as lockdown, which involves closing schools and public venues, has significantly influenced people’s lives around the world.
Children, however, are not treated equally when it comes to dealing with COVID19’s economic and social consequences.