As parents, not only has your everyday life changed completely with the outbreak of COVID-19, but you also have to help your child make sense of the sudden changes in their life. No one was prepared or learned what to do under such circumstances. It is completely understandable to be feeling anxious, overburdened, having to juggle various things while also finding ways to keep your child occupied. Here are some ways you can help your child better adapt to the situation:
- Talk to them about the situation:
Most children have already heard about the virus from various sources like their friends, have seen visible changes in their environment (like people wearing masks) and have experienced significant changes in their routines (staying at home from school). So, not addressing the situation can actually worry them further. You could begin by asking them what they already know and then provide age-appropriate factual information. Share and explain the importance of safety measures like washing hands often and not touching their face and why they cannot meet their friends right now. Let them know that you’re there for them.
Help children engage with the issue / learn more about it in age-appropriate ways. Here’s a resource created by the Govt. of India which delivers information about COVID-19 through an interesting comic. There’s another such resource developed by a Singapore illustrator:
- Create space for them to express their fears/anxieties:
Children may worry about their own safety or fear something bad happening to their family/loved ones. Let them know that they can always reach out to you to talk about these worries. Focus on helping them feel safe and in control.
- Provide structure to their days:
Just like adults, children have had their entire schedule overturned. Their school may have shut overnight and unlike the usual vacations, there are a lot more restrictions now. Having and following a consistent schedule provides the child with some structure and can greatly help feel calmer. Create a table with fixed times for bedtime, mealtime, different activities (not just screen time), schoolwork if there is any. Writing this down and making it visible can also help your child know what to expect. This can especially be helpful if you’re also working from home (you can schedule their favorite activities, self-monitored play for when you want to work). Additionally, have a designated space for learning and school activities.
Finally, be willing to change things as and when needed.
- Get in some physical activity:
You may not be able to step out of your house much but engage in fun indoor physical activities. These could be as simple as stretching or dancing.
- Help them learn and practice relaxation:
Techniques like deep breathing are easier to grasp and can be a great tool for your child to have and access when feeling overwhelmed. You could demonstrate and practice this with your child.
Here are some good video resources to get started:
- Two minutes Mindfulness: Balloon Breaths/Belly Breaths
- Butterfly body scan for children
- Breathing exercise for children
- Stay connected socially:
Help them stay connected virtually with their classmates, friends, and other family members. For those willing, it could be through phone or video calls. It could also be through other ways like making cards or writing notes to their loved ones.
- Check-in with them:
This is no ordinary situation and it is natural for your child to feel disturbed. This may also reflect in their behaviour (they’re not ‘being themselves’, or they’re ‘acting out’ more than before). It can help to check-in with them from time to time and respond in a comforting way. Let them know that it is natural to feel stressed at such times. You could also encourage older kids to try journaling.
- Deal effectively with your own anxiety:
This isn’t easy for you either and it’s natural for you to be anxious. Navigating your own anxiety and emotions effectively will greatly help cope with the situation better. Also, your child will be impacted by your reactions to the situation. Be mindful of the discussions that take place around them.
To know more on how you can cope with anxiety at such times, refer to this article written by our team: Managing panic and anxiety around COVID-19.
Additionally, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, you can call iCALL for professional counselling and emotional support. Our details are as follows:
Call: 9372048501, 9920241248, 83697 99513
chat: download nULTA app
Timing: Mon-Sat 10:00 am to 8:00 pm
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National Association of School Psychologists (2020). Helping Children Cope With Changes Resulting From COVID-19. Retrived from
Pendley. J. (2020). Coronavirus (COVID-19): How to Talk to Your Child. Retrived from
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2020). Talking With Children: Tips for Caregivers, Parents, and Teachers during Infectious Disease Outbreaks. Retrived from
Young Minds (2020). Talking to your child about coronavirus. Retrived from