Tips and Ideas for Parents
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What can you say to prepare your child for the New Normals of Covid-19?
By Denise Teo
As children, they had an adjustment to very abruptly staying in and having school and pretty much their entire life at home. No more trips to the park and playgrounds, no more play dates with friends and visiting family. Some families, unfortunately, may have been directly affected by the virus, experiencing health issues, fear and isolation due to mandatory quarantine orders. All we can say is that it took a fair bit of adjustment for our children during this period but right now they are more or less settled into this new routine isn't it? Now that the schools are reopening and the society returns to some normalcy, our children need to be prepared for new normals. And you can help to prepare them for what is to come, by discussing these pointers with them.
1. Safe distancing - Focus on what we can do instead of what we cannot. Make it fun, drawing on their imagination and something concrete that they can work with. You can say:
Do refer to this diagram by the WHO. Do note that here in Singapore, we need to observe 1m of safe distancing. But better be safe than sorry!
2. Wearing a mask - Purchase masks that feature your child’s favourite cartoon character. If you are not able to get your hands on those, personalise the masks by using non toxic markers to draw your child’s favourite object or character or write your child’s name on the masks. You can say:
**As per the Singapore government’s regulatory standards of mask wearing. Children under the age of two are NOT required to put on masks based on medical experts’ recommendations on child safety.
3. New normals - Children often need to have their focus shifted from the negative to the positive. The younger they are, they tend to be easier to distract. The older they are, they tend to dwell on negativity longer than they should. Revisit favourite memories with them like a trip to the beach or a recent holiday. Make plans for it when the situation improves. You can also help them to look forward to special family time such as a movie night, or game evenings or baking their favourite lemon tarts. You can say:
4. Assurance that things will be okay - Look out for signs that your child is anxious or stressed. Acknowledge that feeling and be honest with them about how you feel as a grown up. Sometimes a simple assuring “You are ok” brings tremendous comfort to a child. You can list down examples on how many people are doing their part to fight the virus, you can show older children through videos or newspaper articles how children in other countries are adhering to the new measures of being safe so they do not feel alone. You can say:
5. Healthy Habits - Washing of hands & Practicing Social Responsibility by saying:
We hope this has been helpful for you as we step into new norms during a pandemic. Remember, we are in this together.
If you need to speak to someone or know of someone who needs to, you may call these helplines in Singapore.
1. National Care Hotline: 1800-202-6868
2. Mental Well-being
Fei Yue’s Online Counselling Service
Institute of Mental Health’s Mental Health Helpline (6389-2222)
Samaritans of Singapore (1800-221-4444)
Silver Ribbon Singapore (6385-3714)
3. Marital and parenting issues
Community Psychology Hub’s Online Counselling platform
4. Violence or abuse
Big Love Child Protection Specialist Centre (6445-0400)
HEART @ Fei Yue Child Protection Specialist Centre (6819-9170)
PAVE Integrated Services for Individual and Family Protection (6555-0390)
Project StART (6476-1482)
TRANS SAFE Centre (6449-9088)
TOUCHline (Counselling) – 1800 377 2252
For other Helplines and mental health-related support, visit go.gov.sg/hotlines.