How to Help Your Kids Through This Challenging Time
There’s no denying it. We’re all having a difficult time right now. Parents, in particular, are facing unique challenges. How can you keep your kids occupied, engaged, and calm at such a complicated time? Here are some tips on how to make this uncertain time a bit more comfortable at home.
Talk to Them
Kids are like sponges—they absorb everything. Even young children cannot escape the ever-present talk and news about the coronavirus pandemic. Experts at the Child Mind Institute recommend answering your children’s questions clearly and honestly, without giving them more information than necessary. Remind them (if hopefully true) that your family is healthy and assure them that you are taking steps to prevent the spread of the disease. Be mindful of how you speak around them and the programs you are watching. If you remain calm in your kids’ presence and limit their access to potentially scary news stories, you can help keep the situation in perspective.
Telling your kids they are safe is important, but showing them is even better. Model good hygiene habits by washing your hands for 20 seconds, coughing and sneezing into your elbow instead of your hands, and cleaning surfaces frequently. Involve your littlest kids by taking the Baby Shark Handwash Challenge and encourage older kids by rewarding them for practicing good hygiene. If your children see that you’re taking every precaution to keep them safe, they will feel reassured.
Being apart from friends and family for an extended period of time can be especially challenging for children. Take advantage of extra family time and have dinner together, play board games, and read together at bedtime. If you can safely play outside, get out of the house for some exercise as a family. Plan virtual play dates with their friends from school whenever you can. Games like charades or “I Spy” can be easily adapted for a videocall, plus your kids will love the chance just to tell their friends what they’ve been up to at home!
Keep Up a Routine
According to the National Association for School Psychologists, establishing and maintaining a routine can play a big part in your kids’ well-being. Keeping up a routine during a tumultuous time can give your children a sense of normalcy that will help keep them calm. Set consistent mealtimes and bedtimes, just as you would if they were physically going to school. Schedule out some activities during the day, like playtime, exercise, and a time for learning. Everyday activities like Kumon can help keep the routine consistent. Scheduling out your child’s time can also ensure that you have time to yourself to work or rest.
Remember that everyone’s in this together. Try to find the positives where you can. Maybe you were able to introduce your child to your favorite boardgame from when you were their age. Or you’re finally able to get the whole family together for mealtimes. Whatever it is, if it helps you stay calm and upbeat, your children will stay calm and upbeat, too.