While the world struggles to contain the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) which has claimed over 10, 000 lives globally, parents and guardians need to be aware of the traumatic impact the killer virus is having on their children.
The pandemic caused by the coronavirus has left thousands of parents and siblings bedridden or dead. Children are witnessing so much pain, anguish and death that it is inevitable for them to be left stressed and traumatic.
And because places where they can get professional psychological help like schools, health facilities have been forced to close, parents have to deal with ensuring that their children are not psychologically broken by the pandemic.
In Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni last Wednesday ordered that schools close on Friday to prevent learners and school managers from being exposed to the deadly virus. Even though no case had been confirmed in Uganda then, schools complied.
This means that children are now home following the carnage COVID19 is causing the world on TV, radio, newspapers, social media and other forms of conversations with their peers. The chance for them to get wrong damaging information is also high.
To help parents cope with this hard time, Kampala International School Uganda (KISU) in a public statement noted that children, like adults, respond to stress in different ways.
According to KISU, children during this time can suffer anxiety, worry, panic, feelings of helplessness, social withdrawal, difficulty sleeping and concentrating, anger and hypervigilance.
“Children tend to react based on what they observe from the adults around them. When parents and guardians respond calmly and confidently, they are in a better position to support their children,” KISU said.
According to KISU, there are many things you can do to support your child including but not limited:
- Talk to your child about the COVID-19 outbreak. Try and answer their questions in a way that your child will understand. Share the facts from reliable sources.
- Help your child feel safe by reassuring them that they are. Normalise fear and anxiety by letting them know it is ok if they feel upset and scared. Let your child learn from you by sharing how you cope with stress.
- Limit your child’s exposure to media coverage. The media are reporting heavily and this can heighten stress and fear. Keep them busy and engaged in other safe activities.
- Maintain a sense of structure in their daily routine.
- Set the example by taking breaks, sleeping, exercising, and eating well. Keep in contact with your social support system.
- Seek additional help if needed. Please contact the school if you feel your child needs extra support.
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