As we all adjust to the changes and restrictions of moving between the alert levels, fears and worries experienced during lockdown may re-emerge for some tamariki. It's totally normal to be feeling all sorts of different emotions.
Keep the six things children need in mind as a way to support your tamariki through this difficult time.
Love and warmth
Show your tamariki lots more love and affection by way of cuddles, kisses and staying close by. Model calmness by staying calm ourselves, showing them that we are okay and that we will be here to help them no matter what.
Talking and listening
Explain what is happening in ways they can understand. Check in regularly, really listen to what they’re saying. Watch their behaviour too. It can help work out how they might be feeling.
Check out these tips on how to have a kōrero with tamariki about COVID-19. They’re still really relevant and important.
Guidance and understanding
Take the time to look over all the official health information, guidance and advice for whānau that was created during the first lockdown. Sit with your kids and go over what each Alert Level means for your whānau and create your own whānau tikanga to stay safe.
Remind your tamariki of the ways they can stay safe by:
- proper hand washing with soap for at least 20 seconds – singing 'Happy Birthday' twice is a great way to count the time
- coughing and sneezing into our elbows
- keeping a safe distance from others when we're out in public
- wearing a face covering when it's hard to keep apart from people outside our whānau
- staying home if we get sick.
There's more information about ways we can protect ourselves and others on the Unite Against COVID-19 website.
Limits and boundaries
Finding a balance about what kids need to know and what might cause additional anxiety can be a challenge. Their age, temperament and ability to understand information will guide us.
If you are in Tāmaki Makaurau and staying home during this time, think about your whānau boundaries. Amiria shares what worked for them during the first lockdown.
Consistency and consequences
It’s important to get the most up-to-date and correct information from trusted sources to avoid any misinformation. This can help everyone to feel confident that there is still a safety system in place for us all to follow.
Be aware of how much time is spent watching COVID-19 reports on TV or social media. Whānau may need to filter what tamariki are watching or listening to.
Structure and security
Create a whānau plan about keeping safe. Make sure this includes ways to keep track of your movements during this time by:
- downloading the NZ COVID Tracer App (this is the best way to keep track) or
- making notes in a diary or
- taking time-stamped selfies that capture where you went, when you went there and who you met
- keeping your record of movements in a safe and secure place.
If you use the NZ COVID Tracer app, it makes it easy for health officials to let you know if you are at risk of being exposed to COVID-19.
And most importantly, if whānau members are sick stay home.
You're not alone – we've got this Aotearoa
Feeling anxious is normal. Try talking with other parents to find out about the different ways they are coping. Exercise, fun and games are all great stress busters. There are also lots of free helplines that you can reach out to if you're feeling worried or would just like to kōrero.
Tamariki may not understand exactly what is going on, but usually they can tell when their parents are worried or stressed. They may respond by being clingier, more grizzly or unsettled or having more emotional outbursts. Try not to respond with our own adult tantrums.
See the world through their eyes. What would you want from your parents and whānau if you were a child during this scary time?
Be kind, look after each other. We've got this Aotearoa. Kia atawhai tētahi ki tētahi.