We are coursing through unprecedented times. The current Covid-19 crisis has posed challenges to us at every possible level of the societal network. We have changed our ways of life – the way we shop, eat, work, play, unwind, and engage in study. Children especially have borne the brunt of a paradigm shift in their daily routine due to closure of schools and restriction of movement and outdoor activity. They too suffer the psychological and behavioural adversities precipitated by the pandemic, the fear associated with it, and the quarantine. Unexplained meltdowns, temper tantrums, anxiety, inattention, screen dependency, physical inactivity, snacking and binge-eating, irregular sleep patterns – the list of problems is rather a long one. It has been a demanding journey as a parent to ensure that the child is not bored or frustrated.


How can we help promote good behaviour during such times? – This is the million dollar question, isn’t it? Let us see how we can reduce conflict and stay positive together!

  • A resourceful time plan – Ensure that your children have a charted schedule for the week. Apart from their online school classes and time for homework and assignments, make sure they have fun things to do – hobbies and play! Set up a creative cozy corner for them to curl up with a book, paint, work on a puzzle or experiment with origami craft! Enroll them in physical activity e-classes and get them to break into a sweat. Make physical activity intentional and fun. Engage them in atleast 30 mins of adult-led play (a board game, charades, crafts, anything creative) and 60 mins of active free play. Set a consistent bedtime ritual and make sure they sleep right.
  • Healthy eating patterns – Every child must receive a nutritious diet replete with the right amounts of cereals, protein, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and nuts. Make set meal times and stick to them. Ensure that they eat 3 balanced meals and 2 healthy snacks a day. Limit the intake of sugars, baked snacks, candies, soft drinks, or sodas. Share at least one family meal everyday together.
  • Life skills and independence – Use this time to involve them in household chores. Encourage your child to help you with sweeping, mopping, and housekeeping. After all, the home is an ideal learning space! Teach them activities of practical living that aren’t otherwise taught in a classroom. Fixing a light, changing batteries of their toys, warming up their glass of milk, making their bed – doing such things makes them feel self-reliant – a very effective confidence and morale booster!
  • Healthy communication – An open parent-to-child communication using age-appropriate language helps effective bonding. Be clear in what your expectations are, and convey them even more so clearly. While talking to your child, make sure you are calm and polite. Look away from your phone/computers when they seek you out for a chat. Pay attention to their talk. Keep them apprised of the happenings in the community. Keeping them in the dark will only add undue anxiety. Provide accurate information, and limit their exposure to unwanted media platforms.
  • Winnings for goodness – Reinforce good behaviour by rewarding them (a wall of fame with stickers or points, playing their favourite game/music, reading them their favourite story – small, thoughtful rewards).
  • Quality family time – Keep your workstation away from your child’s activity space. Use this time at home to watch family movies, cook, and eat together. Create memories together.
  • “Show them how it is done, don’t tell” – Be the change you want to see. Avoid over-reacting to undesirable behaviour. Exercise authority calmly and firmly. When children see parents lose their temper, their defiance and opposition only increase. Collect your thoughts first before springing upon them.
  • Make your child feel loved – Take a surprise break from your work for a hug/cuddle/play or a conversation. Small acts of affection and care will boost your child’s self-esteem.

Stay home. Stay safe. Stay happy! Together!

Happy parenting!


Dr. Lakshmi Prashanth
Consultant Pediatrician
Kauvery Hospital Chennai