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Management of Behavioural Changes in Children during Covid times

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By Ravi Singh Negi
When schools are closed for planned vacations or for weekends and short duration, it gives them a refreshing break and re-energies students for further studies. But, at the same time, when schools are shut down forcibly for a longer period due to strikes, calamities or other unforeseen circumstances, it leaves a negative impact on studies. The routine of students is broken in the absence of proper guidance and planning, resulting in poor academic performance.

Covid-19 has created new challenges for students as well as parents. Schools and playgrounds are closed, there are lots of restrictions on social and outdoor activities, and all family members are at home. There is a change in routine, open family altercations are unavoidable. Many personal tensions and social problems of adults are discussed in front of children. Children even at 2 years of age are aware of the changes around them and get affected by it. Sometimes, some children start believing that they are responsible for everything that is happening in their surroundings, adolescents experience uncertainty and loss of freedom.

All these changes in the environment and routine bring changes in the behaviour of children. They may show signs of aggression, irritability, anxiety, fear and depression. They may exhibit symptoms like excessive sleep, excessive eating, always surrounded with books pretending to study, feeling lethargic, complaining of shoulder pain, headache, not responding to any one or limited in response or exhibiting some abnormal behaviour or sickness as an attention seeking. Schools are trying to make good the academic loss through e-Learning but physical, social and mental development is left for the home environment.

Parents must observe and supervise the children very closely without interference in their activities. Keep the child busy. Make a schedule. Don’t permit the children to behave as per their whims and fancies. Try to adhere to a schedule but keep flexibility as per time and requirement. Stay positive, don’t discuss the negative aspects of the pandemic before the children but educate them about precautions and how to fight with it, bravely. Involve them in household chores of their interest. If they don’t have interest, generate it. Never lose temper in front of kids. Losing temper will force them to act against their will and lead to loss of confidence in the end. Explain through examples. One can’t ask a child not to smoke with a lighted cigarette in one’s hand. The key factor is healthy parent-child relationship. Keep communicating; teach time management; avoid excessive attention to the phone, TV or laptop. You, as a parent, must know the limits. If a situation goes beyond control, immediately contact a counsellor.