National: The Coronavirus outbreak has completely changed our way of life and children are no exception. It is essential to educate them about the pandemic and make them aware of the dos and the don’ts that will revolve around their lifestyle, eating habits, travel and entertainment, academics, hygiene, and more from now on. Parenting plays a vital role in understanding what the children are facing during the COVID-19 times and encouraging them to abide by the pandemic protocols.
Keeping in mind the importance of child health during the lockdown, Sakra World Hospital organized the 2nd part of its webinar series on Lockdown Impact on Parenting and Child Health on Thursday, May 21, 2020. The one-hour-long talk by Dr Ravikiran S, Senior Consultant Pediatrics and Neonatology at Sakra World Hospital and Ms Jamuna Kakarla, Clinical Psychologist, Sakra World Hospital have enabled parents and children to get an easy walk through the various ways of tackling children’s health – both physical and mental during COVID-19 lockdown and bracing them up for the new life post lockdown.
The webinar focused on certain handy tips to enable parents to efficiently supervise their children’s health during and post lockdown and smart advisories for children that may help them remain healthy, both physically and mentally during the tough time. Additionally, Dr Ravikiran S highlighted the increasing rise of Hand Eczema, a non-communicable inflammation of the skin on the hands among children due to excessive washing of hands and cautioned the parents and the children to keep an eye on the same.
Identifying symptoms including stomach aches, headache with fever, and reporting them immediately to a doctor happens to be one of the first-to-do things while managing child health during the lockdown. These signs when reported without delay could help the doctors initiate treatment at the appropriate time.
Other tips include guiding children to follow and practice social distancing and isolation which are new to them as they are to everyone, teaching them to rely on information from authentic sources like WHO, UNICEF, etc and keep away from fake news and rumours that get viral on social media and making them aware that while it is correct to keep away the disease, it is inappropriate to stigmatize someone with the disease. Dr. Ravikiran also threw light on the importance of proper disposal of PPE among children to ensure safety and prevention of contraction.
Explaining the positive impact of the lockdown on children, Dr. Ravikiran S said: “Due to lockdown, there has been a considerable reduction in consumption of junks. Intake of more home-cooked food has improved the children’s health, thereby reducing several ailments like diarrhoea, summer ailments, and more.”
Dr Kakarla insisted on the parents and children to focus on mental health besides their physical health. During the lockdown, the children must be engaged in creating games and new activities, kept away from social media addiction, encouraged to connect with nature, practice yoga, exercise, and spend quality time with parents and grandparents. The doctor emphasized on the importance of adequate sleep for children and suggested the parents to not discuss COVID-19 during bedtime.
“During lockdown the children have to be indoors and it has led to a considerable disruption in their social life. There is lack of interpersonal interaction and the strain of being with the same people. As a result, they may feel stressed out as much as their parents do as well. The parents have to worry about job security, domestic chores, deal with children’s anxiety and stress and more. Spending quality time with children, having heart to heart interaction with them instead of spending a lot of time on gadgets and social media, being positive with them and engaging and appreciating them for good things that they do can pave the path of making lockdown stress-free for both the parents and the children,” said Ms. Kakarla.
The webinar focused on a holistic approach to children’s health that includes consumption of nutritional foods, proper vaccination on time, keeping the body and the mind active, and adequate rest.