Tips for good parenting during Covid-19: Praise, make family time fun

Partnering our kids (irrespective of their age) in the day to day schedule and making them aware of the current situation goes a long way in improving a parent-child relationship.

By Dr Sufla Saxena

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted the physical and mental well-being of kids and their parents across the world. School closures, working from home, physical distancing from friends and families have upended the life of parents. Responsibilities have increased, including handling online schools for kids, household chores, finances, work stress or managing a child with special needs.

Partnering our kids (irrespective of their age) in the day to day schedule and making them aware of the current situation goes a long way in improving a parent-child relationship.

Here are some tips which can help you in being a good parent during these challenging times.

Communication and self-care

Good communication between a parent and child is the key to a good relationship. Make them aware about the corona pandemic and safety precautions (mask, hand hygiene and social distancing) that needs to be taken at all times. Also discuss with them the possibility of one or more family members going into isolation, so when faced with such a situation, they are prepared mentally and physically. Always be supportive if they have any queries or concerns.

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Fix daily schedules

Set up a daily routine for the child for online school work, self-studies and playtime. Also try and engage them in some household activities according to their age. Smaller kids can help by keeping their room tidy, older kids can help in some cooking, making their beds or gardening. This will ensure the daily burden is shared and will encourage positive association between the parent and child.

Make family time fun

It’s very important to spend quality time together as a family, such as watching a movie together or playing a game over the weekend. Talk to your kids about their friends, their school work and if they have any concern in their mind. Help them to be connected to their friends and loved ones by calling them up or through video calls.

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Limit screen time 

There’s a significant increase in the amount of time spent by kids on electronic media be it tabs, TV or phone. Excessive screen time not only can affect mental wel-lbeing but also lead to childhood obesity. So it’s important to monitor what the child does online, the content they consume and the time spent. Apps to check screen time can be installed and time usage could be set for the day. They could also be involved in daily physical activities like fun exercises, yoga, etc. Ensure that the kids get good sleep and eat healthy food.

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Don’t forget to praise 

It’s very important to keep the kid’s morale high by praising them from time to time for their work as it’s a tough time for them. Some of them may not find it easy to deal with the changed circumstances and constant understanding and support is required from parents.

Always be supportive, empathetic and loving. Parents with special needs children should share the load by taking turns in managing the child as they need a lot of love, nurturing and time in these difficult timings. Positive parent-child collaboration makes a huge difference in these difficult times.

(The writer is Consultant Paediatric Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist, Manipal Hospital Delhi)

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