SWD issues advisory for children, caregivers to cope with disruption in daily routine

JAMMU: Social Welfare Department has issued a detailed parenting advisory to enable children and caregivers to cope with sudden disruption in the daily routine in the wake of the worldwide outbreak of Covid-19 disease.
The advisory states that the sudden disruption in the daily routine, looming fear of possible loss while limiting social interaction can impact mental health adversely. The effect could be equally felt by children and adolescents.
“It is necessary to stay vigilant and tread cautiously while dealing with Children under these circumstances,” the advisory adds.
It states that the children should stay close to their parents and family, as far as possible. “If a child needs to be separated from their primary caregiver due to suspected illness of child or caregiver, it must be ensured that appropriate alternative care is provided and a social worker or caregiver should regularly follow up on the child,” it said.
“During periods of unavoidable separation, regular contact with parents and caregivers should be maintained, such as twice-daily scheduled phone or video calls or other age-appropriate communication (e.g., social media depending on the age of the child). It is important to stay positive as well as honest while communicating with Children. Parents and caregivers can be more reassuring to others around them, especially children if they are better prepared,” it reads.
The specific list of the advisory is as:
Make yourself available:
Children may need extra attention from you and may want to talk about their concerns, fears, and questions. It is important that they know they have someone who will listen to them. Tell them you love them and give them plenty of affection.
Make it a point to talk with your child or teen:
Answer questions and share facts in a way that your child or teen can understand. You can explain facts to younger children in a child-friendly manner through comic strips which will help reduce anxiety. Focus on helping your child feel safe but be truthful. If your child asks about something and you don’t know the answer, say so. Parent/Caregivers should stay updated about facts.
Figure out gently what the child already knows and what are his/her fears:
Ask questions geared to your child’s age level. This gives you a chance to learn how much kids know — and to find out if they’re hearing the wrong information. Listening patiently will also help them vent their stress and emotions.
Follow your child’s lead:
Some children may want to spend time talking. If the child does not seem interested or does not ask a lot of questions, do not insist. However, gently tell the child that you would be available in case they wish to discuss the issue. Be patient; children and youth do not always talk about their concerns readily. Watch for clues that they may want to talk, such as hovering around while you do the dishes or yard work. It is very typical for younger 2 children to ask a few questions, return to playing, then come back to ask more questions.
Remain calm and reassure your child or teen that they are safe:
Let them know it is ok if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope with you.
Avoid blaming anyone for the situation:
It is important to avoid stereotyping any one group of people. Instead, explain the facts to the children in a scientific manner. State the truth honestly but refrain from exaggeration.
Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the specific event, including social media:
Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand. Speak to your child about how many stories on the Internet may be based on rumours and inaccurate information. Constantly watching updates on the status of specific events can increase anxiety. Developmentally inappropriate information (i.e., information designed for adults) can also cause anxiety or confusion, particularly in young children.

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