How to take care of your children's psychosocial well-being

A guide for parents/child caregivers on keeping children safe during COVID-19 quarantine at home

UNICEF Viet Nam
With the epidemic is still spreading drastically recently, in addition to bringing people who are suspected of being infected or having been in contact with COVID-19 infected people (called F1) into quarantine centres, the Ministry of Health has instructed Ho Chi Minh City to pilot allowing quarantine F1 at home and will re-evaluate the feasibility of this measure in order to decide on the next policy.
UNICEF Viet Nam\Vu Le Hoang
09 July 2021

Like many countries in the world, Viet Nam is fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of Viet Nam and its frontline Ministries such as the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of National Defence, the Ministry of Public Security and other ministries, sectors and localities are joining efforts to prevent and slow down the spread of this disease.

With the epidemic is still spreading drastically recently, in addition to bringing people who are suspected of being infected or having been in contact with COVID-19 infected people (called F1) into quarantine centres, the Ministry of Health has instructed Ho Chi Minh City to pilot allowing quarantining F1 at home and will re-evaluate the feasibility of this measure in order to decide on the next policy.

To ensure safety, prevention of abuse and violence, and improvement of the mental and psychosocial wellbeing of children during home quarantine, here are some tips for parents and caregivers:

PARENTS NEED TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR CHILDREN'S MENTAL HEALTH AND PSYCHOSOCIAL WELL-BEING

  • Know the emotions and reactions that children may experience during this stage, including:
    1. Fear, sadness, anxiety, stress, negative thoughts, excitability
    2. Cry easily
    3. Have negative, aggressive behaviours
    4. Difficulty in sleeping, loss of appetite, or overeating.
    5. Decreased interest in routine activities or becoming overly focused on something.
    6. Children may be withdrawn, quiet, and less likely to participate in conversations and sharing
  • Understand that your child's reactions are completely normal. During this period, children need to be respected, listened to, cared for and loved by their parents.

PARENTS NEED TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR OWN MENTAL HEALTH AND PSYCHOSOCIAL WELL-BEING

  • Parents need to be aware of their own feelings and possible signs of stress such as:
    1. Fear, worry about family members being infected
    2. Feeling frustrated, sad, angry, because things are happening out of control
    3. Imagine the worst scenarios that could happen to your family
    4. Fatigue, loss of appetite, insomnia
  • Understand that the above reactions during this stage are understandable and common to many people
  • Parents should know how to take care of themselves to help relieve stress by:
    1. Open your heart to all family members, especially children. Because people can also feel stressed and need each other's support and comfort.
    2. Eat healthy food, exercising (exercise, yoga, etc.), getting enough sleep
    3. Take time to rest and do things that you enjoy
    4. Remember that stress and anxiety (living in the past or future) can be much more harmful than the virus itself
    5. Only focus your energy on solving problems that you can control because worrying won't solve them
    6. Whenever feeling very stressed and likely to lose control, stop for 10 seconds and take 5 slow breaths.
    7. Share with people you can trust - sharing, talking is a good way to relieve stress

WHAT PARENTS NEED TO DO:

  • Try to keep up with your daily activities at a fixed time as much as possible
  • Always keep calm and be gentle with children
  • Give your child extra time and attention
  • Let the child be sad. Don't expect your child to be tough
  • Listen to your child's thoughts and fears without judgment
  • Set clear rules and expectations
  • Provide accurate information about what happened and explain what is happening now
  • Encourage and create opportunities for children to feel useful – they can help adults or others