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Signs to look out for if you’ve got children at home in lockdown

Royal Children’s Hospital paediatrician Anthea Rhodes said the return to remote learning and lockdown in Victoria would be taking a toll on “lots of kids and adults alike”.

“All the feelings that we might be experiencing ourselves as adults … are very likely to be experienced by children as well,” Dr Rhodes told ABC Radio Melbourne.

“The big difference is they’re not going to communicate that in a way that we can understand – ‘hey Mum, I’m feeling really overwhelmed by this whole idea of remote learning again’ – but instead they’re going to communicate it often through behaviour.

“So that’s the stuff to be on the lookout for. Is your child a bit more withdrawn than normal? Are they overreacting to things? Are they melting down?

“All of those things are signs that they’re telling you, this is big stuff and they need help dealing with it.”

Dr Rhodes said trying to stay calm, retain empathy and think about how to support the child was key.

“As parents, I think this is such a triggering experience … I know when the Google classroom timetable came through on Sunday night and I opened it up myself I thought oh God, that sinking feeling,” she said.

Dr Rhodes said practical solutions involved dialling back expectations about what can be achieved with remote learning, taking lots of breaks, and trying to map out the structure of the day each morning.

If you need to have a chat to someone, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Reporting by Joseph Dunstan

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