Here, we aim to share some tips inspired by UNICEF, one of Nord Anglia’s Collaborations, to help families turn the current situation into an opportunity to grow closer and build emotional resilience.
As the Chinese proverb says, “misfortune may be a blessing in disguise”.
- Establish daily communal routines to promote bonding between family members.
Arrange one or more family activities each day that require all family members to participate. Also be sure to allow time for individual activities.
Maintaining a harmonious family atmosphere is paramount for family members to feel emotionally safe. Long periods of stress will inevitably lead to people feeling upset, anxious and could give rise to emotional problems. It is important that family members support one another. Consistent communication is one way to reduce stress during the outbreak.
- Tailor your communication approach to your child’s age.
There are different ways to help children of different ages to understand the epidemic. Most children will have heard about the COVID-19 outbreak and will rely on their parents to better understand the situation. Because their normal lives have been disrupted or changed by the epidemic, they need to work with their families to develop effective responses.
Parents can help young children understand the outbreak by playing games with them or through storytelling, role-playing, or other creative activities. For example, parents can work with their child to draw a picture of a virus or read them an illustrated story of someone fighting the virus. Parents can also role-play with their child to help them understand how staying at home can be a powerful way to defeat the spread of the virus.
Parents may choose to openly discuss relevant information with their older children. Try to address your child’s questions and be frank and honest about the situation and possible solutions while remaining positive and reassuring in order to limit anxiety.
- Play with your child.
It is important for parents to help children establish an optimistic attitude and the confidence to overcome current challenges; this can be achieved through playing games.
Parent-child games can be an effective way to strengthen that bond, relieve stress, and build resilience in children. Parents may actively participate in children’s play activities. For example, parents can join their children in physical exercise, storytelling, and quizzes to help children stay active and help to relieve their anxiety.
Playing can also improve a child’s ability to regulate emotions. Parents can help their children to recognise their feelings through painting, play-doh, arts and crafts.
- Value your child’s involvement.
During this challenging time, parents may encourage their child to participate in creating opportunities to share household chores as much as they can and involve them in family discussions and decisions. Children can join discussions about daily routines and house rules, plan their own activities, and manage their time spent at home. In this way, children will have a sense of control, which will help them overcome potential feelings of uncertainty. This is also an opportunity for them to learn time management and improve planning skills.
With these four tips, we hope you turn this challenging time into an opportunity for you and your family!