My 10-year-old son always performed well at school, but his grades are dropping, which is worrying us. I have recently recovered from long Covid and I think this might have affected him.

It is very likely that your son’s poor performance at school is related to this difficult family time. Witnessing someone he loves and cares for go through a serious illness will have added to your son’s normal worries that he will have at this age. He would want to stay strong and be seen to be coping during these times, but sometimes this means repressing his own feelings of uncertainty and fears. Unfortunately, this can only work for so long before those feelings begin to show up causing him to feel overwhelmed or disengaged from his academic work. One important thing you can do as parents is to encourage him to be as open as he can about the difficult times you have all been through as a family. Plan some quality time where you can all enjoy yourselves away from the worries and issues to enable your son to relax and where you can open the dialogue to see how he feels. Don't interrogate him, let the conversation flow naturally. You may be surprised to see how much exchange of thoughts you can have with your son when he has his guard down and while he's in a fun environment.

I have a two-year-old niece. She loves to go to the park, playschool and roam around. Ever since the lockdown and Covid restrictions, she has been frustrated staying at home. She has become very cranky and cries over small things. Suggest ways to deal with this.

The lockdown situation and Covid restrictions are indeed very frustrating for people of all age groups. Being confined to one space disrupts our routines and coping gets very difficult. Especially since toddlers can’t understand the reason behind the sudden and strict restrictions from parks and playschool, the crankiness is natural. Even though you must have tried multiple times, the simple solution to deal with this problem can be to calmly communicate with the child and let them know in a playful way, the reason behind the restrictions and that it will stay this way for a while but eventually things will be better. The most important thing is to keep them busy and entertained to reduce crankiness and instances of lashing out. Interesting indoor activities can be a mutual activity between the parent and the child. The time can be used to increase the parent child bonding. Hope this helps!