How to deal with your children during the social isolation period. Discover tips on how to deal with kids from different age groups.
Written by Marialma Team
Nowadays, uncertainty is a common feeling in societies all over the world. However, this is no time for panic or neglect. It’s time to accept the social isolation required, obey the guidelines and care for the body and soul.
In this article, we want to share with you tips on what to do with children and teens during the quarantine.
From 0 to 7 years old
Small children are developing the physical body. All their physical activity is concentrated on actions, the exercise of “wanting”, as we call it in Anthroposophy. When they exercise, they mobilize psychological forces which help them in the formation of their internal organs. In this phase of growth, it would be important to approach the trials of social isolation with care.
Avoid talking about the coronavirus: the young child needs to be spared from the stress of this kind of social situation. They should know what is going on but they shouldn’t receive a thousand practical explanations about the quarantine and hygiene measures that we are currently reinforcing.
Talk less and act more: teach them how they should wash their hands, apply serum to their nostrils and go out with them for a quick walk each day. As children, they are not psychologically able to choose what to do to protect their health so they depend on you to have a strong backbone.
Take care of your feelings about all this quarantine situation: because they are still very attached to their parents and have not yet developed their own opinion, children under 7 years old feel in their parents’ small attitudes, gestures, expressions, and tone of voice when something is worrying them. So, even if you don’t say anything, they can “hear” your panic, and this also interferes with their development. Therefore, adults must learn to deal with their feelings and fears.
Resist the “screen- temptation”: To keep children busy all day at home may be very demanding, however, there are a lot of activities you can do with them that does not involve a screen. If they are exposed to screens for a long period, the healthy flow of movement that strengthens the organs is cut off. So, TV and game time needs to be limited.
Give a lot of love and hugs: touch is the main thing at this stage. So, be present physically and psychologically for as long as possible. Play together, hug, kiss, laugh with your child. It will do you a lot of good too.
Choose the right game activities: at this age, the best games are those that the child performs with his whole body! They love to play on land or sand, to swing, to run… For those who have little space, playing where they can create is a great solution. It’s also worth helping in the kitchen, baking bread or a cake.
Fairy tales are a gift for the soul, with good overcoming evil in a light and natural way. Telling positive and funny stories from your childhood will also be great. Beautiful songs that talk about nature and the universe of the child are also very welcome.
From 7 to 14 years old
The first thing to have in mind trying to deal with social isolation effects is that the children are already able to evaluate the information for themselves. At this stage, the young person gradually leaves the exclusively familiar environment and needs more space, more autonomy. The role of the adult is very important in offering balance in their way of thinking and acting: the moral educator has to be firm and sensitive at the same.
Listen more: a very important exercise for parents of children of this age group, especially the ones dealing with the effects of social isolation: simply listen to what your child says about their knowledge of the times we’re living and how important it is to carry out quarantine, to understand how they feel.
Do not leave free access to information: at this stage, children may seem very grown-up and independent, but they are still just children. Psychologically, they are not yet ready for more complex issues. It’s important that you still function as a filter.
Nourish positivism: it is necessary to see beyond every conflict and learn from every situation. Try to occupy them with art. Choose from drawing, painting, dancing, storytelling, sewing, embroidery, etc. Do puzzles. Being emotionally close to the child in any activity performed together is a holy medicine.
From 14 to 21 years old
In the anthroposophical view, the great psychological impulse that arises in the adolescent and moves them is idealism. When dealing with the effects of social isolation at this stage, it’s common for them to become discouraged and unmotivated in their relationship with the external world. And by “unmotivated” we mean consumerist, aggressive, individualistic, exploiter, etc. The best way to go with young people is to help them with practical actions, not only with criticism.
Explain consciously the reasons and the importance of social isolation: young people need to understand the rules to follow them willingly (and even defend them). The adolescent tends to feel very frustrated by losing the possibility of moving around, being with friends or having to deal with the cancellation of events that he wanted to participate in. Show them data, facts, charts, and describe the experience of other countries also in quarantine, so that your teen can view this problem as something much bigger than them. Don’t impose, make them think.
If you have read so far, you may have realized that children come to give us a new chance to understand ourselves better and try to fix our issues. Courage! Take care of yourself, your family and those around you.
Soon all this quarantine will pass and by the time we realize it, we will have learned to take much better care of our three homes: our body, our home, and our planet!
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