Parenting Tips: How to provide emotional support to children
COMMON AND NORMAL RESPONSES OF CHILDREN who have been through stressful events are:
• Difficulties at sleeping and eating
• Being aggressive
• Having pain in stomach or headache
• Having fears, being afraid to be left alone
• Separation anxiety
• Decreased interest in playing and engaging in playful activities
• Being sad, crying more than usual or for no apparent reason
It is important to remember that children’s stress reactions are normal reactions to an abnormal situation. Explain this to children when they do not understand their own reactions or find it hard to deal with them.
Children need as much normality, play and fun as possible and to be given a chance to regain their feelings of trust and safety. It is important that caregivers fulfill their roles as before, and don’t let the children take on adult roles.
TIPS-HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT YOUR CHILDREN IN DIFFICULT TIMES:
1. Listen to them. Acknowledge their distress and fears.
2. Tell them it is ok if they feel sad and they can talk about it if they want.
3. Take time to comfort them and give them affection,
4. Reassure them that they are safe. Explain to them in simple words what is happening. Do not leave them alone and do not leave them with others for a long time.
5. Be sensitive and caring with your children.
6. Use simple strategies to comfort and calm your children
7. Be patient, help your child adapt and find out what is bothering the child.
8. Do not push the child to talk about his/her feelings, but let him/her know that you are available for a talk at any time. If the child does not want to talk, find other ways for the child to express
9. When they do share, pay attention to them and listen to what they have to say. Let them explain their concerns and fears. Always, show respect to what every child is saying.
CHILDREN NEED TO KNOW…
1. Children and adolescents need information about what has happened in an age appropriate manner.
2. Talking is important, however children should not be overwhelmed with information that they did not ask for. It is important to be honest and to use words that children understand.
3. Help your children to understand what is happening in their surroundings and to the family. Provide them with honest and direct information about what has occurred and why they are in the current situation (such as reasons for living in a prolonged confinement, in quarantine, isolation, for being away from school, from their friends, etc.). Use simple words and positive messages.
4. Seek help from a teacher, social worker, or health worker if your child is suffering very severe problems.
*Lifted from: UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Region
Tips for General Public: How to deal with Stress during the Covid-19 Outbreak
- It is normal to feel sad, distressed, worried, confused, scared or angry during a crisis.
- Talk to people you trust. Contact your friends and family.
- Stay at home, maintain a healthy lifestyle (including a proper diet, sleep, exercise and social contact with loved ones at home). Keep in touch with family and friends through email, phone calls and making use of social media platforms.
- Don’t use cigarettes, alcohol or other drugs to cope with your emotions.
- If you feel overwhelmed, talk to a health worker, social worker, similar professional, or another trusted person in your community (e.g., religious leader or community elder).
- Have a plan where to go and seek help for physical and mental health and psychosocial needs, if required.
- Get the facts about your risk and how to take precautions. Use credible sources to get information, such as WHO website or, a local or state public health agency.
- Decrease the time you and your family spending watching or listening to upsetting media coverage.
- Draw on skills that you have used in the past during difficult times to manage your emotions during this outbreak.
*Lifted from: WHO. Helping children cope with stress during the 2019-nCOV outbreak (Handout). WHO:
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