The second week of school lockdown is over and we are heading for a third one. By now, we’ve all realized that this Coronavirus is more serious than we once thought. And with Lebanon already having had its share of hardships over the past few months, this epidemic just adds another stressful thing to worry about.
Lana Kalawoun our counselor at Ahliah, reached out to make sure that not only the students are doing okay but their parents as well. We’re facing tough times and it’s alright to feel overwhelmed. She has compiled some tips and information that might help parents and children to deal with this situation.
- House Lockdown Tips
One of the most important recommendations – and social obligations – given is staying home and minimizing contact with other people. With no one left to infect, the virus will most likely die out quicker. But a family lockdown has its own share of difficulties too and you and your kids will most likely experience something called “cabin fever” – that feeling of irritability, annoyance and frustration when confined in one space for too long.
So, what can you do to make your family lockdown bearable?
- Keeping a sense of structure to your day and maintaining a sort of routine is beneficial. Even though the kids aren’t at school, they can still divide their day into work and play just like they would normally do on school days. Agree on a daily schedule and try to stick to it; studying Biology from 9:00 to 10:00 for example, followed by some downtime.
- Encourage your children to engage in various activities such as board games, reading, crafts – even though they’ll probably be tempted to stay in front of the TV all day watching Netflix.
- Staying physically active is critical to boosting mood. Frustration and boredom can come when kids are not getting the opportunity to move. Creating a small space where you can enjoy micro-exercises can go a long way.
- Plan activities that make you feel good (it can be as simple as enjoying your morning tea on the balcony) to keep your morale high. Tackling tasks that have been so far postponed or neglected will give you a positive sense of accomplishment.
- Consider doing things as a family such as planning a movie night, building something together (puzzles are a big success) or playing some family board games (UNO, Monopoly, Jenga, etc).
- However, make sure to give each other space. Respecting time alone is important when living in close quarters for an extended period.
- How to explain Coronavirus to your child?
Kids worry more when they’re kept in the dark. It’s essential to be able to explain the situation to them truthfully and reassuringly. But doing so might prove challenging. Here’s my advice on how to approach this:
- Encourage your child to ask questions.
- Be developmentally appropriate; tailor your answer to your child’s age. It’s better not to volunteer too much information as to not overwhelm them.
- Invite your child to tell you anything they might have heard about the coronavirus and how they feel. Correct them on some of the misinformation they might have in order to avoid encouraging frightening fantasies.
- Deal with your own anxiety. If you’re feeling stressed out or worried, take time to calm down before trying to have a conversation with your child about the situation.
- Be reassuring. An important way to reassure your child is to emphasize the safety precautions that you are taking. Remind your kids that they are taking care of themselves by washing their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds (the length of two “Happy Birthday” songs) when they come in from outside, before they eat and after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing or using the bathroom.
- Keep the lines of communication open and tell your child that you will continue to update them as you learn more.
- Coronavirus Information sources
Basic information about Coronavirus is almost known to all now. But we see fake information being shared every day as well. It’s important to be aware where the information is from and if the source is trustworthy. Some reliable internet sources I use are the following:
- World Health Organization – https://www.who.int (available in Arabic and English). They share regular news of the virus and even offer a detailed informative page with answers to possible questions you might ask yourself about the Coronavirus (https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses).
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – https://www.cdc.gov with a Frequently asked Questions and Answers page (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html#basics) and information about what to do if you’re sick and how to protect yourself from Coronavirus.
- The New Yorker – https://www.newyorker.com . Coronavirus articles can be read for free.
- New York Times – https://www.nytimes.com . Coronavirus articles can be read for free.
- BBC News – https://www.bbc.com/news (available in Arabic and English).
- The Guardian – https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news
- UNICEF – https://www.unicef.org (available in Arabic, English and French).
Always make sure to double check any information you might receive, especially the ones on social media.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be very happy to answer any of your queries.
Lana Kalawoun – Ahliah School Counselor.
Stay safe and healthy,