The expansion of the COVID-19 outbreak, which has spread to various cities in the archipelago, has made many schools start implementing online learning systems. Several offices also take a similar step.
This situation gives families more time to interact at home. However, limited activities at home can lead to boredom that makes children fussy and makes parents emotional, as well as leading to unhealthy habits such as irregular eating and sleeping and excessive use of gadgets.
“This condition certainly causes a variety of influences, both positive and negative influences, depending on the circumstances of each family and how the family reacts,” said Lecturer of the Faculty of Psychology UGM, Sutarimah Ampuni, S.Psi., M.Sc.
She said each family could choose the type of activity to be carried out together during the study period at home. Parents, especially those who have small children, according to her, need to have excellent physical and emotional conditions to be able to assist children because if the children are still young, the challenge is to serve them both physically and verbally.
For this reason, parents must cooperate and invite older children to help look after their younger siblings or do homework.
“Encourage children, no matter how small, to care and do the part they can do, for example, cleaning up toys, eating alone without being fed, and so on. Thus, this condition will teach new skills to children,” she explained.
Parents should also set a schedule for study, rest, eating, and as much as possible to keep it, although there is still flexibility. It intended that children do not lose structure during the study period at home and stay accustomed to a healthy routine.
To make a child not easy to get bored, she suggests that parents provide materials or materials that do not have to be purchased, such as bottles and bottle caps, used paper and boxes, or other unused objects in the house.
“Physical activity together such as gymnastics or dancing is also good to do because it is not only fun but also good for exercise,” added Sutarimah.
If children are teenagers or nearing adulthood, physical challenges may be gone. However, teenagers usually tend to be more challenging to manage. Meanwhile, parent-child conflict may arise. The main reason is that the child does not follow the proper routine. Kind of proper habits are sleeping late at night because of playing games, not being disciplined in worship and eating, or the child does not want to study and only spends his time playing gadgets and do not want to be involved with activities at home.
This problem, according to her, is also not simple because if the conflict is intense, the child might choose to leave home and gather with his friends, which brings new problems.
“I think the tips for parents need to establish communication with children, want to listen to children and invite them to talk, ask for understanding and cooperation of children, and provide reinforcement when children show positive behavior. As much as possible, avoid nagging communication, invite children to dialogue in both directions,” she explained.
If parents have free time, she suggests that they can play with teenagers, agree on the division of tasks in the family, and involve children in household activities.
“If the family can manage the condition well, it can bring positive influence, and mental health will be maintained. Do not forget to invite children, whatever their age who understand, to dialogue about the current situation with language and content appropriate for the age of the child,” said Sutarimah.
Translator: Natasa A