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In a time of such global uncertainty and turmoil it can be challenging to know what to do, how to react and, especially, how to keep your kids calm.

Eunice Collins, child and family psychologist at Australian Christian College shares suggestions on how parents and children can work together to get through these unprecedented times to reduce the stress in the home and work towards keeping your kids calm and (relatively) worry-free.

Children may inadvertently be exposed to media coverage and adult conversations, and Eunice says carers need to be very aware of the impact this can have on brains that are still developing.

Hold conversations for after kids bedtime if possible, or rely on other modes of communication like email and text messages.

Kids rely on the tangible; since they can’t see the danger of a virus it’s harder for them to identify its harmful effects.

Be Honest With Your Kids

My first piece of advice is that parents proactively talk to their children about the virus and what is going on in the world right now.

Parents should first ask their child what they already know and start by identifying what is true and what is false.

It’s important to stay calm when talking about the virus – your child will follow your lead, and your verbal and nonverbal cues are very important.

Allow the child an opportunity to ask questions. Answer factually and honestly. It’s okay to say: “I don’t know, I will try to find out.” Be sure to follow through on any outstanding questions from your child.

Limit Your Child’s Media Exposure

Secondly, as much as possible, limit the child’s media exposure. Do not have the television on all day listening to opinions on the pandemic. Anything you hear, your child is at risk of hearing too.

This is a great time to look at our modeling behaviour, and showing your child that you are staying calm, positive and confident in the midst of chaos will provide them great comfort.

Be Positive

It’s essential during this period that children feel like they are being cared for. Prioritise conversations that are of a positive nature as you look towards the future, especially with tangible near-term milestones (holidays, birthdays, etc).

Do Things Together

While we may be living under different circumstances during these school holidays than we imagined, we can still do wonderful things together.

Instead of going to have a picnic in the park, have a picnic in the backyard. This will help create a sense of excitement for children, and will foster wonderful memories.

Keep Calm…And Carry On

If there is one thing to take away from this, it’s to stay calm. Conversations in the home can easily be overheard so ensure you are practicing mindfulness and considering your child at all times.

It’s Normal To Feel Stressed

My advice for parents is to remember that no one is doing it alone and to accept that it’s completely normal to feel stressed.

There will be both good and bad days.

Creating a safe environment for you and your child will help you both come out of this stronger and more open to new challenges.

Eunice Collins is a registered psychologist with over five years experience working with children and families within a school context. She has a Masters in Educational & Developmental Psychology from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

What are you doing to keep your kids calm during home isolation? Tell us in the comments below.

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  • We’ve not had a lot of trouble with this – our kids have been calm.

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  • Talking to them honestly

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  • Very hard time for kids and to keep them busy is even harder

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  • Great post and simplified

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  • We are doing lots of arts and crafts and cooking and dancing!

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  • Cooking with kids
    Playing monopoly and other board games ,playing soccer in the backyard and tennis

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  • We are doing a lot of cooking and experimenting. Even though my son is an adult he does have autism so we just keep doing regular things. He spends a lot of time in the garden and walking our dog.

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  • This has been a great time to connect with your family and almost see the individual personalities of your kids developing

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  • regular weekend video calls with her cousins in the philippines, western sydney and usa helps a lot. they can play silly fb messenger games and compare or show off their toys and snacks too. on weekdays since we both work from homw, we keep her busy with paper works aka activity books and she’s delighted when we do our disney puzzles.

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  • My son loves music so he’s spending a lot of time doing that. We have regular chats about what’s going on and how he’s feeling. I’m also creating a schedule/to-do list for him each day so he has some sort of routine.

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  • This is very challenging time for every one.My kids love to cook.I always try to make special dinner with them,Most of all they love to eat what they made by them self.

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  • My kids watch the news and are aware whats going on we are open and honest with them and they are not scared and don’t have any issues

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  • Yes I have been telling my 5 year old about the facts of covid… It’s imp.

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  • We discuss the virus with our kids and tell them it’s fine to be sad and angry about it. We have been guilty of having the news playing on the tv and discussing the number of cases and deaths. We have reminded them that nobody we know or love is sick so we are lucky and we are home with each other. We also say that this will end one day. We have a new baby on the way to look forward to and my miss 6 sent a video to her teacher, which helped but not as much as smsing and FaceTimeing friends.

    Reply

  • Great advice!
    We try to keep things positive.

    Reply

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