Monitor kids during crisis

Briana FioreHarvey-Waroona Reporter

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to rock the lives of many South West families, psychologists are urging parents to keep an eye on their children’s mental health.

Children’s routines are being heavily disrupted — with learning now occurring at home for most students.

Director consultant psychologist Dom Marzano, who owns Bunbury’s Marzano Consulting Psychologists, said this sudden change of routine could cause distress in young children.

“You can limit the effect this has if a regular routine is maintained and you actively support your child’s learning activities,” Mr Marzano said.

He also said children could sense when their parents were anxious or upset about things, including the stress the coronavirus pandemic had caused.

If you are talking to children about the coronavirus, it is important to answer their questions calmly in an age-appropriate way.

Psychologist Dom Marzano

“Talk about how they are feeling, limit media exposure and seek additional support if needed.”

Mr Marzano said parents should consult their GP immediately if they believed their child was not well.

“Your GP will provide the best initial advice to move forward and refer the child to the appropriate professional if required.”

The Bunbury psychologist said creating a loving environment could go a long way in supporting children during this difficult time.

“Providing a safe, loving and happy environment for a child, with room to learn, socialise and participate in a range of activities, including sport, will definitely help,” he said.

Mr Marzano also expressed concern in regards to online use during this period of isolation. He said while online activities brought many positive benefits to children, parents should set boundaries and monitor their children’s screen use.

“Parents should encourage alternative activities, establish limits for online use and keep up-to-date with technologies and environments,” he said.

Mr Marzano said parents should stay involved in their children’s online activities, talk about online safety and educate them on appropriate online behaviour. He said apps such as Tik Tok, a social media platform for creating, sharing and discovering short music videos, were “definitely not appropriate for children”.

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