The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic there is now a general shift in the way the world operates to contain and mitigate further transmission of a disease outbreak.
Children are home and parents are now assuming the role of teachers while balancing other challenges that may arise with the implementation of the emergency measures.
Some parents still have to work to provide for families while others do not have the resources to accommodate the home school option. This has seen increased tension and anxiety in some homes.
Director of Guyana’s Child Protection Agency, Ann Greene recently noted that “it is understandable with everyone being at home, together, some discord is unavoidable, but how families cope will have a great impact on the children.”
“Parents are anxious and many are having difficulty coping, resulting in frustration with the children, but we as parents need to manage our anxiety,” she added.
Greene provided some coping skills pivotal to maintaining mental health and wellness during this period.
Limit your social media exposure. Being over-informed or exposed to “doomsday information” can cause anxiety that is inadvertently passed on to children in the home.
Create structure (chores, homeschooling) in the home. It is said that it is easy for children to get bored or fretful if they are facing a day without structure. Fun activities such as baking or exploring a new hobby can also be alternated.
Keep children informed about what is happening about the current situation but keep it simple. Also, remind them of the guidelines they need to adhere to take care of themselves (washing hands, staying indoors etc.)
When the going gets tough, step away …. Take a break, go into another room or step outside into the yard… take deep breaths or a quick shower.
Greene emphasised the importance of creating a secure home. “This is done by being predictable and consistent; by being responsive, nurturing and affectionate, by modelling confidence with thoughtful problem-solving.”
Children, she pointed out, generally cope better than parents in crises, however, this is dependent on how the parents manage.
The CPA Director also noted that practising these tips is crucial to mitigating the likelihood of domestic violence in the homes.
“In some homes, these were ever-present and now with all parties having to be constantly together, the abuse has escalated, so we have to be our neighbours’ keeper and watch out for children and families,” Greene underscored.