Answer Bank: What to do if your child has difficulties adjusting to new routines amid the COVID-19 pandemic
By She Jingwei
With many countries across the globe heeding the call to practice social distancing under the current COVID-19 crisis, parents have had to play a bigger role in taking care of children at home.
Under such circumstances, children's responses to such stressful events are varied: Many are privy to information from a variety of sources can be disappointed and confused, while some children may have difficulty with eating or sleeping or self-care.
And all these responses have led to more and more children having difficulties adjusting to their new routines, which may interfere with their sense of structure, predictability and security.
Furthermore, helping children understand and follow recommendations like social distancing and wearing face masks can be very challenging if your children have intellectual disabilities, sensory issues, or other special healthcare needs. To help these children better adjust to the new routines around the current COVID-19 situation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has made the following recommendations:
1. Keep children at home and in a sheltered place to lower stress created by social distancing and face-covering measures.
2. Used behavioral techniques to address behavioral challenges and develop new routines. These include social stories, video modeling, picture schedules and visual cues.
3. Try to reward your child in small ways with favorite non-food treats or activities to help in switching routines and following recommendations.
4. Seek help. Your child's therapist(s) and/or teachers may have resources to help in the introduction of new routines.