By Ms. Sakina Bharmal
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to expand. only one thing is certain the current outbreak has a profound impact not only on the health and economic situation but also on the social-emotional wellbeing of societies across the world.
The impacts will be felt differently among different population groups. Among these, as we all know one group will face additional challenges to understand, absorb, and deal with the changes that COVID-19 is bringing to us those are the children especially in the age group of 0-6 yrs.
In the current context of lockdown and restriction of movements, children have constrained access to socialization, play, and even physical contact, which is very critical for their social-emotional wellbeing and development.
School closures are preventing children from access to learning and limiting their interactions with peers. Children may feel confused and at loss with the current situation, leading to frustration, which is only increasing with overexposure to mass and social media, COVID-19 is also bringing new stressors to parents and caregivers. This is hampering their capacity to provide care and remain engaged with their children. Some adults may struggle to find ways to explain and communicate with children about the current situation in a way that is understandable by this age group, which will add frustration and hyperactiveness.
Being very keen observers of people and environments, children will notice, absorb and react to the stress in their caregivers and community members, this will affect their well-being which is unavoidable and this is only the beginning. Levels of stress will be exponentially higher.
We need to teach kids how to do things like cope-up with feelings, set goals, and get along with others, the major responsibility is now on the parent’s shoulders parents should understand that it’s not the appearance that attracts it’s the behavior…
You can help your child work on these skills at home, too. You can connect emotionally with children, understand their concerns, be aware of any situation.
Some of the social-emotional learning activities that can help your child manage emotions and work on social skills, at the same time have some fun with you along the way. These social-emotional learning games fit easily into a daily routine.
1. Cold and hot water to control their temperament
How to play: keep cold standstill water beside a table and a hot water bowl on the top. Ask if your child feels calm and peaceful like the cold water or revved up like boiling hot water.
When your child is feeling over-energized, brainstorm together about ways to feel more like cold water. For example, bouncing a ball to help release some of that energy.
Try playing this game at different times of the day and help your child describe the energy levels. For example, if you play first thing in the morning, you can say, “I bet you could run up and down the stairs, or in the compound or around the house but within the boundary five times before I finish making breakfast!”
Keep in mind
The goal: To help kids notice how much energy they’re feeling inside. When they know they have too much energy, they can either use their own calming skills or ask for help from a trusted adult.
2. Dheere-Dheere, Chupke-Chupke
How to play: When you and your child get to the playground and other places, look around dheere–dheere, chupke-chupke, in an exaggerated fashion. Take turns sharing details about what you see: “All the swings are taken.” “There’s a short line for the slide.”
Help your child connect these observations with choosing how to behave. For example, when the swings are crowded, your child may decide to go on the slide first.
The goal: To help kids practice observing what’s going on around them. Picking up on social clues helps kids get their needs met and understand the perspective of others.
3. “Who Am I Right Now?”
How to play: Get some picture cards, they may be of fruits, vegetables, about a teacher teaching in the class, or a picnic place. You can use your own pic taken on any picnic spot or in a get-together……. Show them to your child ask the child what does he/she is seeing. Brainstorm about the cards your child is showing interest inlet the child speak.
To help your child come up with ideas, comment whenever you notice your child’s positive behaviors: Let’s talk for a second about what kind of person you’re being right now.”
Keep in mind: Many families try to teach social-emotional skills by commenting on negative behavior. But don’t forget to catch your child doing something good. Praising good behavior often leads to more of it.
The goal: To build self-awareness and help identify your child’s strengths. These skills can also help with decision making and understanding the perspective of others
4. Let’s Make a Deal (Cooking Time)
How to play: When you and your child can’t agree, use the tune of “This Old Man” to sing these lines: “You want this. I want that. How can we both get what we want?” Then brainstorm solutions and choose the best idea for right now. For example, if your child is demanding to bake cookies at 8 a.m., the best solution might be to wait two hours so you can bake when the baby is napping.
Keep in mind: Your child may have trouble letting go of an idea. Together you can pick the best of the runner-up ideas and put them in a special container. The next time you have a conflict, read through all of these ideas to help find the best solution for right now.
5. Taking Turns Taking Charge plan A Pyjama Party.
The goal: To help develop self-awareness, make decisions, and see other people’s perspectives.
How to play:
Start a tradition where one night a week you and your child (or the whole family) take turns planning a fun night.
You could stick to a theme, like choosing which food to eat, movie to watch, or game to play.
Or leave things wide open, and let the person in charge pick, plan a pyjama party.
Self-awareness can help kids build a skill called self-regulation. Self-regulation is about managing your internal energy. It helps kids manage their emotions and their body movements during tough situations. It also helps them pay attention and learn.