Quarantine & Pandemic Behaviors in Children

Posted by in No-Cry Discipline, No-Cry Parenting

The past few months have been hard on everyone, adults and children alike. Disruptions to normal schedules and routines, plus changes to the world at large with social distancing and mask-wearing. 

Children might show the following behaviors in response to everything that is going on around them:

  • Tantrums
  • Whining
  • Sleep regression
  • Clinginess
  • Baby talk
  • Thumb-sucking
  • Fussiness
  • Touchiness
  • Anger
  • Crying easily
  • Anxiety
  • Bed-wetting
  • Refusal to do things they are capable of
  • Forgetfulness
  • Lethargy 
  • Tiredness
  • Hitting, pushing, biting

Even if your child isn’t displaying these behaviors overtly, it’s possible there are many feelings and questions rolling around in their minds. Here are some things you can do to reassure your children.

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Listen between the lines

Children overhear more than you think, and they may not always outright ask the questions they are thinking of. Listen in on their pretend play or time spent with their siblings or friends to pick up on topics of concern.

Help your children develop coping skills

If your child’s emotions are finding negative releases, work to teach them better coping behaviors. Deep breathing, positive affirmations, using words or drawings to express their feelings, and asking for help are all tools they can use.

Ask questions – and then listen to the answers

You can open conversation with some simple questions, such as “Did you see everyone at the park wearing masks? Want to talk about why we are doing that?” Once your child opens up on the topic let them talk through their feelings and guide them with answers that reassure them. “We all do this to keep each other healthy.”

Provide healthy food choices

Limiting sugar and junk food, plus serving more healthy choices can give your child the physical boost they need to handle stress and anxiety.

Get them outside for exercise

If possible, get your kids outside for awhile every day. Even playing in the sand, riding a bike, collecting rocks or throwing a ball around can give them (and you!) a much-needed breather. 

Plan fun family times

As changes to our lives stretch on and on it’s easy to become lethargic yourself. Do your best to plan some fun events for those who live in your home  – game night, making homemade pizza, doing puzzles, creating a painting, or doing a craft. These can help raise the happiness level in your home.

Be kind and patient

Your child likely needs an extra dose of kindness right about now. Negative behaviors might dissipate more easily if your response is filled with love and patience.

Watch your own mental health

If you’re finding that you feel stressed and anxious, tend to your own mental health. Quality foods, exercise, yoga or mediation, a phone call to a friend, and a bit of me-time to read or relax can do wonders for your parenting skills.

Ask for help if you need it

If your child’s behavior seems extreme or persistent, seek a professional to help. Your health-care provider, pediatrician, or school would be a good place to start looking for the best guidance.

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