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Covid-19 - what can parents do to ensure their children continue to do well

Author: Urmilah Dass, Consultant Clinical Psychologist

Covid-19, a strange time for all of us

This past year and a half has been an unprecedented time. The entire world halted and almost came to a stop. Covid-19 has wreaked havoc not only medically but socially as well. A lot of focus has been put on how this virus has changed people's lives. Sickness, disability, death has become daily news. However, not enough light has been shone on how our children are coping. Parents, teachers and students the world over have taken an emotional, physical and social hit. The way our children learn has been changed. They have been hurled into a time of uncertainty. They have had to adjust their perception on many things. School now runs from home; with no classrooms, classmates nor play time. School happens in front of a laptop; no diversions. Diversions like speaking to a friend, hanging out during recess or even more basic activities; like playing group sports, or even eating together during recess has been something of the past. How does a student adjust and conform to a new normal? Well, children are resilient, they have the ability to learn new ways.

In relation to this, what can parents do to ensure our children are continuing to do well? Being interactive, available and watchful are most important. Observing if there are changes in the way your child is functioning is crucial. If your child is becoming careless with his/her work, complains about online learning being difficult and refusing to attend online classes, this warrants spending more one-to-one time with them.

However, in order for them to continue being resilient, here are a few things that might help.

  • spend more time talking,

  • make eating together a family activity,

  • organize some board games,

  • order in food,

  • go for walks or runs together,

  • watch movies,

  • have a karaoke session,

  • and everything that spells out 'togetherness'.

Mutual communication and understanding your child better is the key of how to protect our children during COVID-19.

The author is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist at Prince Court as well as Director of Valley Psychological Services. Urmilah was the first clinical psychologist who kicked of the "Sensory Motor Instructional Learning Experience (SMILE) programme for children with special needs at Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (HUKM) and ran the Obesity clinic for children and adolescents.

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