Friday | 17 April | 2020
By Marli Naidoo
Covid-19 has already instigated many adaptations, both positive and negative. Our routines have been upended and all of us had to learn how to adapt fast and become resilient. This goes for adults as well as children. They rely on predictability and routine. Lockdown means that not only may they go shopping with mom, but also that they cannot see their teacher, friends or family. One can therefore understand that they will at times become frustrated and quarrelsome. How can we help them to quarrel less with their siblings?
You yourself must be on an even keel emotionally. You and your spouse cannot fight all day long and expect your children not to clash. To many families the financial pressure and other worries brought about by Covid-19 are a massive stress factor. Children are sensitive and can feel when parents are emotionally stressed. Find ways to relieve the stress and your children will also be calmer.
Talk to your children about how they feel. Anger is usually the result of other underlying emotions. Help them get to the root of the evil and then find solutions to the frustrations.
Make sure that your children get enough exercise. Even if you live in an apartment they can skip, toss pillows at each other or jump on a minitrampoline. An inflated exercise ball can also be a lot of fun and help to get rid of pent-up energy.
When your children start getting irritable it is a good time to join them in a board game. Don’t clean your house or spend time on social media all day. Your children will fight less if you are there to help sort out problems.
Do not prohibit differences of opinion. Children are also entitled to share their opinions and to differ from each other. Teach them to respect and accept each other’s opinions.
Give your child his own space where he has all the say, whether it is his own room, his bed and cupboard or a couch in the living room. In this space he can relax and know that he will be left to himself if that is what he needs.
If your children are always fighting about what game they want to play, you can take turns. Rotate the turns and see to it that everybody cooperates, even if they want to play something else.
Introduce a new routine. Everybody will feel safer, peaceful and at ease if they knew what was going to happen next.
Make sure that your kids spend time away from each other or otherwise they will get tired of each other’s company.
Help your children to see themselves in each other’s shoes and to imagine how their siblings feel about the matter.
Find activities that will put them together in a team. Let parents play against the children. This will strengthen the bond between you and your children. You will also feel better if you have a bit of fun.
Remember that children have strong emotions that at times can be overwhelming Hug them regularly and make sure that you are there to help them understand these emotions better and to control them better.
CNN Health: https://edition.cnn.com/2020/03/18/health/kids-fighting-coronavirus-lockdown-wellness/index.html
* All information was correct at the time of publication.